The official website of the Portland Junior Scientists. Portland Junior Scientists (PJS) is a student-run, community service organization where high school students unite with at-risk youth to explore science, technology, engineering, and mathematics by guiding them through hands-on experiments and discussion with a goal to inspire the students to pursue higher education.
Fall 2013 Update!
Portland Junior Scientists has been busy this fall!
After learning about Newton’s laws at the beginning of the year, the students at PAST&E have had lessons on building bridges and electromagnets! In the bridge building lesson, the students learned about the different types of bridges and were then given materials to build a bridge that could support the most weight. The competition was fierce, and the final results were a tie. For the electromagnet lesson, the students learned basic information about electricity and circuits and were then given materials to assemble an electromagnet. The electromagnets were evaluated by testing how many paperclips could be picked up. The students learned how to strengthen their magnets by wrapping the copper wire more times around the nail and continued to vary different factors, such as nail size, to optimize the magnet’s strength.
Recently, the students at PAST&E embarked on a very exciting journey. They began the new robotics unit! We ordered four Mindstorm Lego robotics kits and are guiding the students through designing robots and learning how to program them to overcome obstacles and complete challenges. Our first day was spent familiarizing the students with the robotics kits, and we began assembling our first basic robot models. The students are loving the change of pace and the introduction to the world of robotics. We plan on rotating the robotics kits through all of our locations over the course of the year.
We have also started up our programs at McKay and William Walker again! At both schools, the students have learned about physical and chemical changes by comparing chemical reactions of baking soda and vinegar and balloons versus pop rocks and Coke. The students absolutely loved seeing the balloons inflate rapidly and loved nibbling on fresh pop rocks at the end. They also both built electromagnets and did a water filtration activity. We are currently in the process of starting up with the other schools we taught at last year as well as reaching out to new ones! We look forward to what the year has in store.