Learning Aerodynamics through Doing

One of the large projects of the annual Introduction to STEM course taught to first-year students is a competition to design and fabricate the most efficient propeller blade.  Course teacher Jesse Jackson introduces the students to some basic concepts related to aeronautic design and then turns the students loose to research, design and fabricate their masterpiece. The most efficient propellor is measured by connecting the blades to a small generator tower that then uses an Arduino based system to measure total electrical output.

This years' winning team, Sina Abraham (Cambridge, MA); Lindsey Gould (Sharon, MA); and Nicholas Kim (San Francisco, CA) said they followed a standard engineering protocol to achieve their result. They did research, studied both successful and unsuccessful prior year designs, and built a couple of iterations of the design. Concerning the design piece, all of the student teams used Solidworks, a very advanced CAD design program, starting with a blade template.  The winning team altered the angle of the blade along its length beginning (from the attachment point) with a 25-degree angle, and tapering to a 20-, 17- and 14-degree angle toward the tip.  Based on their observations, they believed that the angle of attack needed to be steepest near the hub and wanted to create a "belly" at that point.

AP Environmental Science in Action

Having completed the AP Environmental Science exam, the two sections of AP Environmental Science have been doing field work on the Dublin campus over the last week.

A central part of the curriculum in the Spring has been focused on water management. One of the topics was land management in controlling runoff. Plants both stabilize soil and help to keep the nutrients in the soil, bare ground allows nutrition to leach out and beneficial ions such as Ca2+ are replaced with H+ leaving the soil more acidic. These problems often occur after construction or as a result of clear-cutting. These types of disturbances often make soil less hospitable for re-growth and can cause over-nutrition problems down-stream. This is one of the reasons that construction sites are mandated to install silt fences and erosion barriers to keep sediment and nutrients out of the water system.

“A Reserve of Team Spirit:” Ainsley Morrison’s First Year with Dublin School’s Robotics Team

Ainsley Morrison, ’21, having begun work with Dublin School’s Robotics Team for the first time this year, discovered “a really big learning experience,” especially considering that Morrison had had no experience with Robotics prior to coming to Dublin.

An upperclassman told Morrison to join the team, and, in the spirit of “trying to join and try a bunch of new things,” Morrison showed up to the first meeting.

Building a Future: Dublin School Robotics and Scrum Inc.

“This isn’t a robot. [...] This is a lesson in humility, hard work, and collaboration [...] This is the Rosetta stone to help translate the future [...] It’s a machine to build the people who will change the world,” says the voice in a FIRST Robotics video, cutting to images of high schoolers from all over the world cheering each other on, solving problems, gathered over a control panel, building together.

Following Curiosity: The Local Landscape at Dublin

A lab period in “The Local Landscape” course means wandering through an old growth forest, studying the trees, stone walls, and topography. A lab period means getting outside and asking questions of everything on the horizon.

This is the first year that “The Local Landscape” has been offered at Dublin School. The course creator and instructor, Ms. Katie Curtis, used to teach a similar Geology and Environmental Science course at Falmouth Academy, which led her and her students to explore the beaches of the Cape at least once a week. Here, nestled near the base of Monadnock, Dublin students explore forests, streams, and mountains.

Monadnock Field Research

Dublin AP Environmental Studies students are partnering with the the Environmental Studies Department at Antioch University New England in their Monadnock Ecological Research and Education (MERE) Project. Through several long-term ecological research projects, the MERE Project is working to develop an in-depth understanding of Mount Monadnock’s current ecological patterns and processes. As climate changes in the years to come, the MERE Project will monitor its progression by looking at what changes occur to the composition of the natural communities of Mount Monadnock.

STEAM Powered

Our robotics season is over and yet the planning for next year has already begun.  We use the same iterative design in the program that we use for the robot.  It starts with a retrospective on what was done in the past, what worked and what didn’t, and what are new areas to explore next time? That’s how the season began last fall and it is how we will prepare for next fall.  We had ambitious ideas for this year and although not all of them worked out, both students and mentors learned from the experience. We will use that information to formulate the next iteration of how we proceed.
 
“Steam powered” is a play on words.  The challenge this year for FIRST Robotics was named Steamworks and was a steampunk themed game with dirigible-like air ships.  It is also a reference to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education and the trending inclusion of arts into the acronym.  Innovation requires creativity in order to find a new perspective on problem solving. Math and science are the core of the program and being able to nurture an idea from a formula into a three foot cube of a robot takes imagination!

Glacial Scientist Visits Dublin

Kristin M. Schild is a recently minted Dartmouth PhD, whose primary area of focus has been in understanding the ice dynamics of outlet glaciers in Greenland, Alaska and Antarctica through on site measurements and satellite remote sensing. She gave a fascinating talk on her work in remote parts of the world and the life of being a working scientist.

She began by talking about a recent paper that led to cross-over discoveries in her area of study. A group of seismologists were studying earthquakes looking for patterns that would allow them to predict earthquake activity. They found that a number of long wave earthquakes were happening in and around Greenland. Greenland however does not sit on any existing faults. Equally puzzling was the fact that earthquake activity was highly concentrated in the summer months which would not occur due to normal plate activity. A collaboration between glaciologist and seismologists led to a theory that the earthquakes were caused by glacial motion.