Liberty Lines SPECIAL STEAM ISSUE--January 8, 2018

This issue of Liberty Lines celebrates our tinkerers and dreamers--our young scientists, engineers and artists who we know will stretch boundaries and shape the future. The Jersey City Public Schools has increased opportunities for students to engage in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) through projects that enable students to grapple with real challenges facing our world. In this issue we offer a sample of some of the work our students and teachers have done this year.
HOPE RISING Third Graders Take on Preventing Urban Flooding

The Hope Rising STEM Initiative challenged third grade student teams from across the district to research and engineer structures made from recycled materials that will protect communities from flooding. The Hope Rising Initiative is based upon the principles of education, elevation, and empowerment. Throughout the program we educated our students and the community about climate change and its impact on all of our lives. We helped to elevate the victims of these natural disasters through a district-wide fundraising effort that raised over $10,000 for those people affected in Houston and Puerto Rico. A special acknowledgement to Dr. Michael Conti School Public School 5 for raising $2,795 for Hope Rising. All fundraising efforts were donated to the Salvation Army’s Hurricane Relief program.

Students from all over the district came to PS 26 to show their solutions to the problem of flooding in the wake of a devastating storm like Sandy, Harvey or Maria

At our Hope Rising STEM Showcase, the student teams were given the opportunity to display their projects and compete for prizes. The following teams were awarded prizes for their efforts:

● Best Overall Team Design: P.S. 6 – “Hurricane Heroes”

● 1st Runner Up: P.S. 20 - “Scholarly Innovators”

● 2nd Runner Up: P.S. 28 - “Challengers”

● Best Design Award: P.S. 17 - “The Soaring Eagles”

● Outreach Award: P.S. 5 - “Team Awesome”

● Most Innovative: P.S. 15 - “Science Camp”

Science Fair Contestants Share Their Research

“Science is the embodiment of imagination, invention and inspiration,” said District Science Supervisor, Manisha Shah, as she summarized the projects presented at the Jersey City Public School’s Science Fair Challenge on Monday, December 18. Fifth through eighth graders from schools throughout the city filled Liberty Science Center’s first floor with their projects and discussed their work with judges from Liberty Science Center, District Supervisors and teachers. Over 200 student scientists explained their questions, their hypotheses and performed experiments as they vied for the opportunity to present their work at the Hudson County Science Fair.

A student demonstrates the robotic arm he designed.

The Science Fair Challenge is an important part of the science curriculum because it gives students an opportunity to design and conduct scientific investigations. Every student in grades 5-8 is expected to do a project and schools hold their own science fairs to select three winners per grade. Those students then competed at the District level where three winners per grade were selected to represent the District in the County Science Fair. So many projects were outstanding that the judges found their task very difficult. The Science Fair Challenge “makes science relevant to students and sparks their curiosity to seek answers to questions that will benefit society,” Manisha Shah noted. Superintendent, Dr. Marcia V. Lyles added, “We are so proud of the quality and creativity of the student experiments and of the energy and excitement our students bring to their projects. Our teachers have done a great job.”

Students answered questions from a number of judges about their research

The Winners Are:

5th grade winners:

  • 1st place: Elias Herrera, PS 16--Project: Micro Facets Macro Stealth
  • 2nd place: Alexa Aponte, PS 37--Project: Tooth Destruction
  • 3rd place: Gabriel Marandino, PS 37--Project: Born to be Extroverted
  • Honorable Mention: Aziz Nour, PS 28--Project: Oil Spills

6th grade winners

  • 1st place: Joshua Bonner, PS 11--Project: Plants vs. Bacteria
  • 2nd place: Abriti Chatterjee, Academy 1--Project: Adventures on Pain Killers
  • 3rd place: Mia Barth, PS 37--Project: Plant growth Study
  • Honorable Mention: Sivaditya Padmanabhan, PS 37--Project: Isolate Your DNA

7th grade winners

  • 1st place: Ashita Birla, Academy 1--Project: Harvesting Human Heat
  • 2nd place: Arga Moazzam, PS 23--Project: Reflexes and Dizziness
  • 3rd place: Anthony Vasquez, PS 23--Project: Hard Water
  • Honorable Mention: Hanan Knader, PS 17--Project: Can you read the words out of order?

8th grade winners

  • 1st place: Aurush Desai, MS 7--Project: The Thermoelectricity Theory
  • 2nd place: Sania Naik, Academy 1--Project: Effects of Contaminated Water
  • 3rd place: Andrew Lakhotskiy, PS 5--Project: Five second rule
  • Honorable Mention: Brandon Ung, PS 23--Project: Satellite Science
Students learn new computer science skills through HOUR OF CODE events

Hour of Code introduces students to the power programing

The Hour of Code aims to increase the presence of women and minorities in computer fields by providing a one-hour introduction designed to demystify "code" and to show students how they can be the authors of computer programs not just the consumers of them. In addition to helping students understand how the apps, internet and computer software we use is made, coding helps students develop problem-solving , logic and creativity skills. Learning to code provides students with have a foundation for success in any 21st-century career as well as help students be more aware of the many opportunities available in computer fields.

PS 11 partners with Koding Kurriculum bringing software designers in to teach students about coding

On November 20th, Koding Kurriculum came to PS 11 elementary school to host an Hour of Code event for almost one hundred third grade students. The organization, which seeks to connect technology and education, was represented by members Karl Haviland, a software engineer , Nick Intrieri, the senior director of operations systems support for AXA Equitable Insurance company. In addition to helping teachers introduce coding to students, both men spoke to students about the life of a software professional. They used lessons developed by www.code.org which teach students how to visualize problems, break them down into smaller steps, and sequence. For almost all of the students, this event was their first introduction into coding concepts.

Teachers at PS 11 work with visitors from Koding Kurriculum to introduce third graders to coding

Students at PS 24 also take on coding challenges

Students in grades 3-8 at PS 24 also participated in the HOUR of Code, completing online coding activities.

Students at Innovation HS take on Block Coding Challenge

Students work together to design the best game

Throughout the week of Dec 15 students in technology classes at Innovation HS competed in the Block Coding Challenge. They worked in teams to design and code a game using Block coding. Students from other classes judged the results of their efforts using a rubric that captured the level technical difficulty and design quality. The winners from each class won a special luncheon with their teacher.

FIRST LEGO LEAGUE robotics competition brings out future engineers

When over 200 middle school students are cheering in a gym early on a Saturday, it might seem like a typical sporting event. But its not. These kids from schools across Jersey City were cheering for their friends and teammates as they showed off what the robots they created could do. This excitement was all part of the FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) 2017 HYDRO DYNAMICS℠ Challenge that students have worked on all year. On December 2nd they came to Middle School # 4 to show their engineering stuff. Teams explored what becomes possible when we understand what we can do with water. They also built, tested and programmed an autonomous robot using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® technology to solve a set of missions in the Robot Game. Throughout their experience, teams adhered to the FIRST LEGO League's Core Values: celebrating discovery, teamwork, and Gracious Professionalism®.

First Lego League robotics introduces students to real-world engineering challenges by constructing Lego-based robots to complete tasks on a thematic playing surface. Each team researches and designs a solution for the problem posed by the challenge including designing a robot. They compete in Robot games and are assessed for quality of research, presentation, innovation, teamwork and exhibiting the Core Values of the First Lego League. This year the team from PS 27 took first prize in a very tough and competitive event.

Above, students from PS 17 and PS 27 navigate the robot challenge. Bottom, the first place team from PS 27

STEM at PS #17

Students Blow Away Competition with Puff Cars

Fifth graders at PS 17 were challenged to create cars and move them with only their breath. The only materials given were a piece of tape, 2 straws, 1 paperclip , and 1 piece of paper. Students did a wonderful job showing off their imagination and creativity. Races were held to determine a winner, and The STEM Nerds from 202 were victorious!

Seventh Graders Create Hydroponic Gardens

Science teacher, Mr. Realmuto, with support from Goldman Sachs volunteers helped seventh grade students construct hydroponic gardens. This project incorporated skills and knowledge across multiple subject areas, from history to science, life skills, and mathematics.

Growing plants without soil has many advantages for school investigations. Plants grown in soil get nutrients from the soil. When they are grown in water, the scientists/gardners control the nutrients they receive. Students were able to explore the nature of macro and micro nutrients on plant growth.

STEM at PS #30

Meet the Next Generation of Engineers!


The students of Alexander D. Sullivan School, P.S. 30, continue to enjoy the STEM partnership that the school has established with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Junior Chapter, SHPE at NJIT. Most recently, over 50 students from grades three through five attended the annual Día de Ciencias/Science Day at NJIT. There they engaged in activities utilizing coding, building structures using the concepts of mechanical engineering and creating their own ball mixing ingredients during a chemical engineering activity.

The students from NJIT have also been visiting P.S. 30 and working at the school to provide more hands on activities. They have taught the students about force and motion as they built catapults and bows and arrows. They were true engineers learning how to design structures and problem solve utilizing the engineering design process.

4th and 5th Graders Explore BioMedical Engineering

PS#30 has partnered with PicoTurbine to offer 4th and 5th grade students the opportunity to be exposed to the elements of technology and engineering through the BioMedical Engineering program. Students will use the engineering design process to ask, imagine, plan, create, and improve their designs through project based learning. Fourth and fifth grade students are being introduced to the anatomy of the hand, they are working in groups to print and build 3-D prosthetic hands. We are introducing the study of bionics to our students. They will configure the prosthetic hand and give the fingers the mobility to move by adding coding and circuitry. This initiative gives students the ability to solve real world problems by creating designs on TinkerCad and using 3-D printing to bring their creations to life.

Yes We Chem at PS 30!

Another proud partnership is with Saint Peter’s University. Dr. Fried has introduced our students to biochemistry. The Alexander D. Sullivan School 31 began a weekly science enrichment program in collaboration with Professor Daniel Fried from the Department of Chemistry at Saint Peter’s University. The “Yes We Chem!” program involves about 70 students from grades 3, 4, and 5 and aims to teach a college-style introductory course in organic chemistry and biochemistry. In the initial classes, students participated in fun molecular modeling activities that helped them understand the links between a molecule’s structure and its properties, and to appreciate the beauty and patterns of the chemical world. In future classes, students will be involved in hand-held model building activities and 3D computer modeling studies to learn about proteins, DNA, and other biomolecules. The students had a lot of fun learning new science concepts in a highly visual and tactile way.

STEAM at PS 28

MAKERSPACE 2.0 Challenge

The week leading up to a holiday vacation can sometimes drag, but not at PS 28 where students and teachers anticipated their time off by getting busy and getting creative in a weeklong Makerspace event.

Students selected from one of 12 possible creative challenges and worked on it throughout the week. The options ranged from STEM topics like Flood Proof Housing, Solar Oven Cooking, Catapult Challenge and Robots to the Rescue to opportunities for artistic expression like Poetry for the Soul, Storybook Writing, Holiday Parodies, and Songwriting. Topics like Binary Jewelry were a bit of both.

Above left, an example of Flood Proof Housing, right, a solar oven was designed to cook S'mores (mmm). Bottom, a student works on a house design that will withstand the wind of a Hurricane.

Christa McAuliffe School, PS #28's PROJECT RESERVOIR engages middle school students in significant environmental research and advocacy. This year, two of their teams, StyroTerminators and Plastic Elastic 3.0, are the National 1st Round winners for the Middle School Division, Land and Air, of the highly competitive Lexus Eco Challenge Competition.

StyroTerminators Solving Styrofoam problem

StyroTerminators are a team of 8, 7th grade girls that are trying to eliminate styrofoam from the environment using the larvae of a darkling beetle they call "superworms." After careful research on how much styrofoam our superworms can consume, the team shared its findings with our school community by giving lessons to 6 different classes. Each class received a "styro tank" with superworms, darkling beetles, and styrofoam. StyroTerminators wants to raise awareness about the health and environmental effects of Styrofoam trash, reduce or eliminate the use of it in our school district and continue to get more tanks and supplies to create a 400 gallon SuperWorm Bio Digester to consume their school's excess styrofoam.

STYROTERMINATORS are making the world better by reducing the use of Styrofoam in schools and society. Top Row: Michaela Garrett, Layla Sanchez, Sajoud SalehBottom Row: Giovanna Tejada, Jennifer Hoffer, Kayla Allen, Briana Zapet, Juver Nunez

Plastic Elastic 3.0 keeping water free of harmful microfibers

Plastic Elastic 3.0 are a team of 6, 8th grade girls have designed and created a special filter for clothes washing machines devoted to reducing the amount of plastic microfibers in our aquatic systems. The team discovered a variety of plastic microfibers in our clothing and focused their efforts on creating a filter for washing machines. Using a 3d printer, a filter was created to fit the school washing machine. Through research, prototypes and collaborations with local laundromats, the team used the filter on our school washing machine and conducted trials to determine the different types of fibers from clothing and examined design flaws that can fully prevent microfibers of all sizes from passing through the filter. School community outreach was conducted to various grade levels and a final design is being created that will be able to handle the average household daily clothes washing to prevent harmful microfibers from going down the drain.

Team Plastic Elastic 3.0 is getting our water cleaner for the environment. L-R Ariana Sanchez , Camila Nunez, Albania Cruz, Karys Sunga, Sharon Calderon, Gabriella Martinez

Upcoming Events

  • January 8-12: Hello/Hola High School Week, Learn about our high schools--for more information see our flyer
  • January 9: Board of Education Reorganization Meeting, 6 PM at PS #11
  • January 15: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day--District Closed
  • January 16: Board of Education Caucus, 6 PM Central Office (check website for information on start time for the public)
  • January 18: Board of Education Meeting, 6 PM at MS#40
Liberty Lines is produced by the Jersey City Public School District to help keep our community informed about the great things happening in our schools.
Created By
Maryann Dickar


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