2018-2019 – Archives of Sem 2 Meetings – Jan, Feb, Apr, Apr, May 2019

***** Jan 26, 2019 – Chem of Rocks, Minerals and Mining *****

Click here for the January PALS HUB Flyer

Saturday,  January 26, 2019 9 am – 5 pm

Chemistry of Rocks, Minerals and Mining

Dr. Ron Furstenau, USAFA Chemistry Professor, retired

Dr. Gary Balaich, USAFA Chemistry Professor

Join us to take a closer look at the chemistry of rocks, minerals, and mining. In this workshop, you will explore different ways of analyzing earth materials using chemistry techniques. You will actually conduct a chemical analysis of malachite, a copper-containing mineral. You will use advanced technologies such as inductively coupled plasma (ICP), scanning electron microscopy, and x-ray dispersive analysis (SEM-XRD) to analyze the metals in minerals. In addition, you will learn about the fascinating science behind the fluorescence and phosphorescence observed in certain rocks, mineral, and gemstones. No matter what type of science you teach, you WILL really enjoy this workshop. Like most of the Science HUB activities at the USAF Academy, we will make sure we have something for everyone, with emphasis on middle and high school teachers.  We will provide activities that (1) expand participants’ knowledge base; (2) provide the opportunity to do experiments that can be used in their classrooms, either as a demonstration or as a student lab; and (3) provide the opportunity to do experiments in a research-style environment using advanced equipment.


0915          Meet participants on the south steps of the Cadet Field House; escort to

                        Chemistry Conference Room (2N189)

0945-1015        Introductions, refreshments, admin items in Chemistry Conference Room

1015-1115        Presentation:  “Chemical Analysis of Rocks, Minerals, and Gemstones”

                                                  Dr Gary Balaich

Dr Balaich will give an overview of some of the chemical analysis techniques used in today’s lab.  These techniques will include flame tests, acid tests, inductively coupled plasma (ICP), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and x-ray analysis.

1115-1130        Break, Chemistry Conference Room (2N189)

1130-1330        Laboratory Experiments

                        Group A:  Chemical Analysis of Malachite (Dr Furstenau)

Chemical Analysis of Malachite”:  All portions of this lab exercise can be done in your classroom/lab as a student lab or as an instructor-led demo.  Malachite is a copper-containing metal with the chemical formula Cu2CO3(OH)2.  In this lab, you will learn how to test for the percent copper in the mineral by roasting and smelting the mineral.  Roasting and smelting are both common refining techniques to obtain metals from minerals. You will also identify the presence of carbonate in the mineral by an acid test. You will then learn how to use the mineral data base (http://www.webmineral.com/chemical.shtmlto identify your sample as malachite.  We’ll also use classic flame tests to qualitatively identify metals in other compounds.

Group B:  Instrumental Analysis of Metals in Minerals (Dr Balaich)

“Instrumental Analysis of Metals in Minerals”:  In this session, you’ll get to use the modern analysis methods of inductively coupled plasma (ICP) and scanning electron microscopy equipped with an x-ray dispersive analyzer (SEM-XRD) to analyze for metals in rocks and minerals.  ICP is a very powerful and sensitive quantitative technique for determining metals in samples. SEM-XRD is a non-destructive technique that gives more qualitative, but equally valuable, information about the mineral.

1330-1430        Working Lunch Break in Lecture Hall (2P318)

                        Presentation:  “Fluorescence, Phosphorescence, and Fireworks”; Dr Balaich

During lunch, Dr Balaich will discuss the science behind the fluorescence and phosphorescence observed in certain rocks, mineral, and gemstones.  This will include some neat demos/samples! If time permits, the chemistry of fireworks will also be discussed.

1430-1630        Laboratory Experiments

                        Group A:  Instrumental Analysis of Metals in Minerals (Dr Balaich)

                        Group B:  Chemical Analysis of Malachite (Dr Furstenau)

1630-1700        Final wrap-up of the day’s events (2N189)

1700                 Depart chemistry area for Cadet Field House

***** Feb 13, 2019 – Games in the Science Classroom *****

Click here for the Feb 2019 PALS HUB Flyer

Wednesday, February 13, 2019 4 pm – 8 pm

Games in the Science Classroom

Beth Kochevar, Science Teacher, Sand Creek High School

Sandy Smith, Retired Science Teacher, Part-time Science Teacher, Falcon Homeschool Program

Part 1:  ESCAPE CLASSROOM GAMES – Looking for a way to bridge content with 21st century skills?  Utilize Escape Classrooms to integrate critical thinking, content understanding and collaboration. Working with your team, you will apply knowledge of the periodic table to solve “The Periodic Puzzler” – a chemistry escape classroom puzzle. You will also experience 2 other escape classrooms focused on other science topics. You will also explore digital options for escape classroom games. We will share a variety of ways to incorporate escape rooms into your classroom.

Part 2:  Who can resist a good game? Not your students ! In this session you will learn how to incorporate Board (not Bored !) Games and Puzzles that allow your students’ to practice their chemistry understanding and skills in a motivating context. The samples used in this session are chemistry specific, but the techniques are applicable across any science content.

Participants will receive materials to use in their classrooms and access to many of these puzzles digitally.

***** Note: Due to weather conditions our March meeting was postponed until April *****

***** April 4, 2019 – Biomechanics and Human Performance at the OTC *****

Thursday, April 4, 2019 4 pm – 8 pm

(Original date – March 14 – cancelled due to weather conditions !)

Biomechanics and Athletic Performance

Julia Johnson, Healthcare Services Provider, US Olympic Training Center

How does biomechanical analysis help to build better athletes? What technologies are utilized to help olympians reach their full potential? How can analysis of athletes help people who are not athletes? Learn the answers to these questions and more as you see the tools utilized by the Olympic Training Center as they prepare athletes for competition. Understand the cross-disciplinary connections used to train athletes and how our own local Olympic Training Center implements STEM approaches to improve performance.

***** Apr 17, 2019 – Wed PM – Next Generation Science Standards *****

Exploring Ecosystems using NGSS Storylines (Making Sense of NGSS in Your Science Classroom)

Anne Tweed, STEM Teaching and Learning LLC

Explore ecosystems using elements of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). In this workshop you will explore an NGSS-endorsed ecosystem unit containing two different storylines:  

  • In Serengeti, students analyze changes and possible explanations for changes in buffalo populations in the Serengeti over a 50 year period. What accounts for some populations growing, some collapsing, and others remaining stable?
  • In Trees, students investigate the claim that planting trees can help combat climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide and storing carbon in wood. Students’ questions about where and how trees do this, sparks a series of investigations to pursue to track down where the carbon is going as it moves into and through different tissues in the tree (leaves, wood, and roots) that help students develop a model for how matter transformations and energy flow occurs in organisms and ecosystems.

You will get both a unit overview and a ‘close-up’ view of some of the activities within the unit. You will be able to experience ‘sensemaking’ NGSS style – the ability for students to connect empirical evidence to core ideas and crosscutting concepts to make sense of phenomena.  Join us for an enlightening meeting!

***** May 4, 2019 – Sat AM – Reticulated Conservation at the CMZ *****

Saturday, May 4, 2019 8:30 am – 12:30 pm

Reticulated Conservation – Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Stacey Bushey, Director of Education, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Giraffe Keeper, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Everyone loves giraffes, especially at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo! At this workshop, we will have some up close and personal time with giraffe experts, learning how these graceful creatures of the African Savannah are being studied at the zoo and in the field. We will also have some hands on practice to telemetry, one of the techniques used in the field. Consider the connections you can make to your STEM classroom!