Figuring out who stole Jerrell’s iPad might not sound like a STEM activity. You’re wrong. It is.
Area middle school students took on the case at the “Falling in Love with STEM” annual event sponsored by The West Michigan chapter of the Association for Women in Science.
About 50 students recently took part in the event at Grand Rapids Community College and Grand Valley State University, giving students hands-on experience with projects related to science, technology, engineering and math.
To solve the make-believe theft problem, students tested pretzels, peanut butter, jelly, yogurt and beans for organic compounds to see which type of food residue was left on the device.
At a makeshift laboratory in a GRCC classroom, they put on lab goggles then went to work pouring iodine into beakers (testing for carbohydrates); rubbing food on brown pieces of test paper (testing for lipids); and adding 20 drops of Biuret reagent (whatever that is) into beakers (testing for proteins).
Their tests showed the substance on the book was peanut butter, so peanut-butter-loving Bruce was the one who pilfered Jerrell’s iPad in the make-believe scenario.
Other stations at the event taught students how to identify fossil hash, try a prosthetic claw, fly through space with the power of a telescope and do a magic trick. A scientist from Van Andel Institute was even there to answer any question they might have.