In March, the AMSE Special Needs Awareness Partnership (SNAP) Club held a Special Needs Awareness Week at VCHS. This week included promoting awareness about physical disabilities, learning disabilities, autism, and Down syndrome. Throughout the week, high school students watched awareness videos in their third-period class that related to the theme of the day.
The week also featured speakers and special guests. On Monday, Mr. Machado spoke to students about his time as a Special Education teacher and how he used his experiences to found the Football Camp for the Stars Program. On Thursday, guest speaker Brandon Gruber, who has Down syndrome, shared his story about how he was bullied in high school. Brandon spoke about how he stayed strong and was able to change the world around him. On Friday, different volunteer organizations from across the Bay Area came in during lunchtime so that VCS students could sign up and make a difference in the special needs community.
Mr. Machado speaks to students about his experiences with the Special Needs Community.
Ariana Morgan with guest speaker Brandon Gruber.
Hannah Homer and Lexie Wilson pose with one of the posters promoting Special Needs Awareness Week.
Brandon Gruber presents his story to VCHS students with a special message for everyone.
VCHS SNAP Club students show their support for Brandon and the Special Needs Community.
While some kids avoid broccoli on the dinner plate, students at Valley Christian High School (VCHS) are attempting to grow them in space. Using the BAM-FX micronutrient delivery system aboard the International Space Station (ISS), this educational research experiment will attempt to hydrate, germinate, and grow broccoli seeds from dehydrated media and compare the plant growth with and without the BAM-FX Nutrient Solution.
Developed by a team of eleven high school students and VCHS mentors, the initial ground experiments proved successful, as the broccoli grew faster and significantly larger than the control study. After months of testing, the experiment was launched aboard the SpaceX Dragon CRS-14 Mission and delivered to the ISS on May 21, 2018.
“The aim of the experiment is to educate students and investigate the possibility of helping dehydrated seeds of crop plants hydrate, germinate, and grow better in microgravity,” said Dr. John Freeman, Intrinsyx Technologies Corporation plant stress physiologist and mentor to the students. “The bio-fortified broccoli [could] help improve the astronauts’ immune system defenses on long missions going to Mars.”
Back on earth, the team eagerly awaits the results of the experiment, with a return date not yet set. Until then, you can trust that the students will never look at vegetables the same.
This educational research flight experiment is a collaboration between VCHS, The Quest Institute for Quality Education, Space Tango, Intrinsyx Technologies Corporation, and NASA Ames Research Center (via the Space Act Agreement with the NASA U.S. National Lab on the ISS). For additional information please contact Dan Saldana (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Please enjoy this video of the VCJH Guiness World Record Attempt for Largest Rube Goldberg. We are so very proud of our junior high students and teachers!
The entire Valley Christian Junior High (VCJH) student body has spent the past month designing and building their very own Rube Goldberg Machine, one that they hope will launch them into history with a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title.
“These junior highers are building a very complex piece of machinery,” VCJH faculty Nancy Franklin says. “It’s incredibly difficult work, but the learning that’s going on is also incredible. To see these kids and the faculty coming together to get this done is inspirational.”
The current record title is held by Scandiweb from Riga, Latvia, whose 412-step Rube Goldberg Machine kicked off their Christmas tree lighting ceremony in 2016. For VCJH’s record-attempt, it’ll be all-hands on deck to complete their 450-step machine.
“Our entire student body is participating in the building process,” VCJH Principal Brian Clemons explains. “It was important for us to not only break the record, but also get all 687 students involved and excited about STEM.”
The event will take place April 25th, with the whole school cheering on the machine as it sets off a continuous chain of linked experiments that will eventually release balloons from the ceiling. With so many moving pieces, the students know they are facing an uphill battle, but it’s one they are excited to take on.
“Even though it’s hard, the challenge is what makes it fun,” eighth grader Nathan says. “I’m learning how to build and put together machines, and also teamwork and new ways of seeing things.”
An official GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS adjudicator will preside over the event to inform VCJH if they were successful in breaking the record, but Principal Clemons says they will celebrate either way.
“The GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title attempt is what’s important, and we hope it encourages other schools to try something similar. We’d love a little friendly competition,” Clemons laughs, “Ultimately, we want to send the message that engineering is for every student.”
Regardless of their success, VCJH knows it’ll be a day for the record books.
Congratulations to Valley Christian High School Sophomore, Ansel Austin, national winner of the Future Engineers “Two for the Crew Challenge”, sponsored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Foundation and NASA. Ansel brilliantly combined two pieces of International Space Station (ISS) Crew equipment into one. His invention, the “Trillium Tool”, combines the functions of a hexagonal wrench and ratcheting socket wrench into one tool. Inspired by the shape of the Trillium plant, Ansel’s design is bi-directional, eliminates a traditional handle, and meets strict safety standards. As a reward for winning the challenge, Ansel’s Trillium Tool will be 3D printed in space on the ISS. He has also won a MakerBot Replicator Mini+ 3-D printer. In addition, Ansel has won a trip to Washington DC to learn about the history and future of space exploration. Well done, Ansel!
Click here to see NASA's official press release.