Future Engineers Visit Harbison Walker

By Alyssa Westrom, Grade 6,
Co-leader Future Engineers and Co-author Engineering Wings to the Sun

Ten kids went to an amazing technology lab called Harbison Walker where we met with Mr. Glenn McIntyre. We learned more about ceramics and how they are made. The ceramics of Harbison Walker are refractory products, bricks that are first cooked in kilns which are very very hot and then used to line very hot furnaces, molten steel ladles, and engine parts that withstand extremely high heats.  

I say this is the best field trip anyone can ever go on. We saw and held a bunch of new ceramic material being tested. We even got to take home ceramics that weren’t being used at the time.

Our Future City competition team got some pretty good tips for next year. Future City is a competition for six through eighth graders. They have to research, simulate, and build a model of a city 100 years in the future.  

Cherish Erb-White, one of the Future City competitors and co-author of the new Engineering Wings to the Sun book said, “The field trip was really fun.”

The future leader of the Future City Durrielle Bracley brought back some ceramics to include in next year’s model.  This year’s leaders, RJ Sebek and Sam Simpson were amazed by the variety of textures in the bricks and really liked the furnaces. Leah Saracco and Kennedy Johnson, more co-authors of the Wings book (which benefits the American Ceramics Society) were surprised by the different weights and densities of the ceramics they saw. Future City competitors Samantha Jones and Brody Haswell agreed that the trip was awesome, hoping the lessons learned from the competition would continue to grow even more fascinating.

Thank you so much, everyone, who helped! We really enjoyed this trip.


The Mystery of the Economy Borough Silver Mine

Three girls team up with “The Geologists” to solve the mystery of the Economy Borough Silver Mine

Three students from Baden Academy Charter School wanted to learn more about the legends of silver mines at Economy Park in Beaver County. They read stories on the internet, had heard the ghost stories told about the mines, and were eager to learn if there could be any truth to the rumors about the existence of silver.

The three students—Anya Martin (grade 5), Charlotte Haggarty (grade 4), Ziva Schmitt (grade 4)—wanted to go on a quest to learn more, but they needed some mentors. Several science superheroes came to the rescue. Daniel Fisher, a senior level hydrogeologist, helped them understand more about the element of silver and why it is considered a precious metal. Jason Kronenwetter, the Principal Geologist at EnviroTrac, looked through maps and offered up important wisdom about area geology. David Bajek, the Senior Development Geologist at Chevron North America Exploration and Production, taught them how silver is formed in the earth. And Kristin Carter, the Assistant State Geologist, sent maps and a team led by Brian Dunst and five interns from Bureau of Topographic & Geologic Survey to meet the three students at Economy Park to look for evidence of previous mines.

Wait until you see what they found! Get your copy today and celebrate local history, the quest for scientific truth, and the love of geology. Profits from the sale of the book go to the Geological Society of America Foundation.

To purchase the book, please visit https://bit.ly/2BEwl95

The girls will be doing several public book signings:

Saturday, March 9: The Vicary Mansion / Beaver County Historical Society
1235 3rd Ave, Freedom, PA 15042
Open to the public, from 1:30—3:00 pm.
Please stay for the tours of the Vicary Mansion, at 2:00 pm and 2:30 pm!

Saturday, May 4: Old Economy Village
270 Sixteenth St, Ambridge, PA 15003
Open to the public, 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Enjoy Hands-On History Days at this historic 19th century village.

Thursday, May 30: STEM Family Night at Baden Academy
1016 W. State Street Baden PA 15005
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Anya, Charlotte and Ziva would be thrilled to visit your classroom, library, or community event to share their story and read their book aloud. Please contact Dr. Ellen Cavanaugh at Baden Academy for information. 

MG Kids About Town

Hoby, Carmine and Anthony with Chef Jason at Biba and Honour, Gianna and Kathryn with Chemistry Professor Dr. Rodney Austin at Geneva College.

The MG (Molecular Gastronomy) Kids were busy with two different field trips this week! The 6th grade boys traveled to Beaver to learn all about Panna Cotta and the science of milk products with Chef Jason at Biba. The 3rd grade girls traveled to Geneva College to learn about the chemistry and reactions in the bubbling sourdough starter.

While it will be one or two months before the episodes they filmed are edited and up on their website, I encourage you to go out to lunchwithchemistry.weebly.com and enjoy some past episodes, letting the kids know through likes and comments which are your favorites. They particularly want to know if their episodes can help you teach science and inspire other kids.


Join Matthew the Waterdrop on his Journey to the Baden Academy Water Fountain

Enjoy the newly produced video of our Sustainable Water Team.  They toured the Ambridge Water Authority Plant and did a great job putting together all the details, the photos, and even the special effects.  This is a labor of love for 4th graders Matthew, Noah, and Sydney with a lot of extra lab time.

There is also an accompanying career worksheet and an optional STEM Lesson plan https://bit.ly/2EuottX