Big Upgrade for CCHS Science and STEM Programs

Kim Vilendrer, CCHS Teacher-BioMedical/Project Lead the Way STEM
Chicago Christian High School was one of the first schools in the area to partner with Project Lead the Way (PLTW), a nationally recognized STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) program. This rigorous program empowers students to develop and apply skills by exploring real-world challenges. What do we mean by real-world challenges? In BioMedical Science, students may design and develop a prosthetic limb, or conduct a study on the benefits of mobile health clinics. In Engineering, they may develop safety improvements for infant car seats, or design a search and rescue system for use in the wilderness.

Recently, we received a very generous donation of almost $50,000 from anonymous supporters earmarked for the high school science department. These funds were used across our science and STEM/PLTW classes to upgrade existing technology and purchase additional equipment. Our faculty – Mrs. Kim Vilendrer (BioMedical PLTW), Mrs. Laura Kamp (Physics and Engineering PLTW), Mrs. Cory Jansen (Life Sciences), and Mrs. Hannah VanDrunen (Chemistry) – are passionate about encouraging scientific curiosity. And they are eager to see these upgrades and additions keep the students excited about exploring science and engineering.

We have tremendously enjoyed introducing students to the new technology. Here are a few highlights from the newly acquired technology:

• EKG sensors to record electrical signals produced during heart and muscle contractions,
• O2 gas sensors to measure gaseous oxygen concentration levels,
• A Thermocycler and electrophoresis equipment to amplify and analyze DNA,
• Respiration belts to measure human respiration rates,
• Force sensors to study friction, harmonic motion, impact and centripetal force,
• Ultrasound motion detectors to measure position, velocity and acceleration of moving objects,
• Photogate sensors to measure velocity and acceleration, and
• Electronic balances for accurately measuring the mass of a substance.

Much of the new equipment has Bluetooth technology, which ties into the societal norms of our students. They download and connect to an app via Bluetooth on their own phone, allowing them to collect and analyze data in the palm of their hand.

At SCCS, our Profile of a Graduate includes encouraging students to be caretakers of creation. These upgrades and additional equipment will go a long way in helping students seek and implement creative solutions for the care and preservation of God’s world. These students are our future leaders – thank you to our generous donors who are helping to make a lasting impact for God’s kingdom!