A lot goes into bringing STEM alive at Mesa View and making it a worthwhile curriculum for our students. What follows is a sampling of the STEM activities that take place on campus.
Catalina Island Marine Institute
Sixth graders particiapte in a three-day, two-night field trip to the Catalina Island Marine Institute on Catalina Island. They study marine biology in labs set-up on the island as they also enjoy ocean kayaking, the famous night snorkel, zip-line activities, and more. Students discover the intricacies of the delicate marine ecosystem surrounding the island.
Durintg this week, students build, from scratch, fully-functioning, metal catapults. They cut the sheet metal, bevel out the cup, twist and attach the coil, and more, under the supervision of staff. Using professional machine tools, students learn the fine art of manufacturing under precise specifications. Once built, students launch bouncy balls to see which catapult shoots the furthest. The week also includes the construction of other catapults, such as simple popsicle stick levers, rubber-band tension shooters, and more.
First in Math
This online program builds number sense and automaticity in math. Students reinforce their foundational skills in math by discovering the relationships among numbers, equations, and solutions. The rapid-fire game built into the site pushes advanced math students to their limits while also helping struggling students understand the hidden "language" of math.
High Performance Math (HiPerMath)
Math students engage in a problem-solving challenge where they build a virtural dragster and race it against the cars built by other students. Students compete to have the fastest time as they race down the same online race course. Students improve their cars by solving complex mathematical problems which involve gear ratios, engine size, wheel diameter, and more. As a result, students discover the math behind racing and the detailed calculations (and trade-offs) that go into producing the quickest dragster. The HiPerMath website tracks and compares student performance in real time. Top racers earn prizes and genuine recognition from their peers.
Knott's Berry Farm Physics Day
Eighth graders travel to Knott's Berry Farm to take part in the amusement park's Physics Day
. Students enjoy a fun and educational day at the park while learning how to properly use accelerometers, inclinometers, and other measuring devices. Student groups document their findings and compare their results, discovering the complex engineering that went into the creation of Knott's famous roller coasters and thrill rides.
Leonardo Da Vinci Day
Every April 15, Mesa View students honor Leonardo Da Vinci's birthday by particiapting in a campus-wide building and racing competition. Da Vinci's work empitomizes what it means to live and breathe STEM. His designs, his art, and his creativity are highlighted as students design and build unusual vehicles (within pre-established parameters) and race them tournament-style in our gymnasium. The day is also celebrated with free birthday cake at lunch for all takers. Core subjects also weave their content into the day's theme, with Mona Lisa sketches in art, Vitruvian Man symetry lessons in math, and a look at Da Vinci's written journals in English.
NASCAR Math & Science Day
When NASCAR comes to the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Mesa View students join the excitement by participating in NASCAR's Math & Science Day, conducted jointly by the speedway and the Alliance for Education. Students get behind-the-scenes of what it takes to compete in NASCAR, looking at the elements that make a winning stock car. They examine tread wear, fuel types, brake systems, and more. While at the speedway, students cover their ears as they observe the roar of actual time trials and test runs for the upcoming race.
In each of the three years a student could be at Mesa View, they will learn to construct and program Lego NXT robots. (There are over thirty robotics kits on campus.) Students learn the precision and detail that goes into the programming of robotic movememnts. They learn how to use motion, light, and sound sensors to guide their robots. They complete challenges agains other teams to discover which robot can complete certain tasks quicker, more accurately, and more reliably. Students who want to go farther, can join the Mustang Robotics Team and compete against other schools in FLL (First Lego League) tournaments.
Science students study the elements of flight by designing and making customized fins to attach to Estes and Viking rockets. Students learn why rockets have fins and how they affect flight. The grand finale is Launch Day, where classes go out onto the athletics fields and ignite their rockets. Students gaze into the sky hoping their rocket reaches the highest zenith. Afterwards, students calculate the parabola of their rocket's flight and determine the height that it reached. It's real rockets, real explosions, and real science.