Science

Practical Problem Solving

By on December 15th, 2017

It’s happened to the best of us: you push the power button on the remote and nothing happens. What’s the problem? Does it need new batteries? Is the TV unplugged? Is the power out? To figure it out, you need some problem-solving skills.

Problem-solving skills are important in our everyday lives, our careers, and in learning. Problems may be frustrating, but they can also be opportunities. By helping our students develop strong problem-solving skills, we can help them look at problems differently, do things in a different way, and think critically. Continue reading


Aliens and Explosions

By on March 30th, 2017

This post was written by FLVS student Sarah Weyand about her award-winning research in astrophysics.

Studying ExoplanetsMy science fair journey began about a year ago.

I was approached by a Harvard graduate who wanted to mentor a high school senior in an astrophysics and computer science research project.

I knew nothing about astronomy and I didn’t know a single programming language, but I love space and I plan to major in computer science in college. Naturally, I said yes. This project has taken me to the Science Talent Search, the Indian River Regional Science and Engineering Fair, and, now, the State Science Fair.

My project is titled Aliens and Explosions: How Supernovae Affect the Habitable Zones of Exoplanets.

The purpose of the project is to calculate the percentage of exoplanets, a planet that does not orbit our Sun, that would no longer be in the habitable zone of their host star due to a supernova, the explosive death of a massive star. Continue reading


How Career & Technical Education Changed My Life

By on February 21st, 2017

CTE_Blog_CoverIn honor of Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, I would like to reflect on the influence CTE has had on my life – even though I didn’t realize it until a decade later.

As a teenager, I wasn’t a big fan of school. Classes, homework, and way too much science! I couldn’t stand it.

However, every time I left my rural campus to assist nurses at the local hospital, I felt the thrill of escape and the fun of doing something new. So, for all the wrong reasons, I enrolled in my high school’s nursing program and was quickly on my way to plenty of time not in school. The perfect plan!

It didn’t take long for me to learn my first CTE lesson: there is much more to a nursing program than wearing scrubs and getting out of class. I’d signed up for a daily, three-hour block of anatomy and physiology, as well as an introduction to nursing skills. Yep, my brilliant plan to escape school somehow locked me into three hours of science a day. Continue reading


FLVS Attends GOES-R Satellite Launch

By on December 7th, 2016

GOES R Satellite Blog PostOn Saturday, November 19, I had the privilege of watching the GOES-R weather satellite launch from Kennedy Space Center.

Now you may be wondering what GOES-R stands for. It’s the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, a satellite system that orbits the earth and sends data back to National Weather Service computers. The R indicates what number or version the GOES satellite is on, so there have already been versions A-R. GOES-S is slated to launch next year and is the twin to GOES-R.

Of course, weather satellites get launched all the time, so why would this one be any more special than the others?

Well, right now we receive images of satellite scans every 30 minutes or so. The GOES-R satellite will provide data at least every five minutes, and in some circumstances every 30 seconds! So not only will it be five times faster than current weather satellites, but it will also gather three times more data and it will have four times better resolution. Continue reading


To Bennu and Back!

By on September 29th, 2016

osiris-rex-educational-science-posterHello FLVS peeps!

I had the distinct honor of representing FLVS at the OSIRIS REx rocket launch a few weeks ago.

Now if you’re wondering what exactly that means, OSIRIS REx stands for NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer. That’s a mouthful, right?

In a nutshell, NASA is sending a spacecraft to an asteroid named Bennu. Once it reaches Bennu (after a trip lasting two years), the spacecraft will orbit the asteroid for about a year, find the perfect place to collect about 80 grams of the rock, and head back home, arriving back to Earth in 2023.

It won’t actually land on the asteroid, but instead hover over it – and with the help of Canada and their amazing knowledge of spacecraft arms – will grab a small sample. (To put this in perspective, 80 grams is about the equivalent of 80 Skittle candies.)

So why are we going to Bennu? Continue reading


FLVS Student Pursues her Passion for Animals

By on September 13th, 2016

This post was written by tenth grade high school student Madison Toonder. Read about Maddie’s oyster research in a previous blog post here

madison-toonderIn October 2015, I was awarded a scholarship to attend any pre-collegiate program of my choice for winning second place in the nation in STEM mathematics at the Broadcom MASTERS national science fair competition in San Francisco, California.

I chose the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University’s two-week summer intensive in Massachusetts because it is directly related to my career path.

Tufts’ program is designed to give high school students insight into the rigors of veterinary school. During the program, we attended lectures, studied animal anatomy through fascinating dissections and hands-on palpitations, completed hospital rounds with fourth-year veterinary students, and explored the many different possible career paths within veterinary medicine. My daily agenda was varied and included activities such as learning proper techniques for handling animals, observing surgical procedures, and learning how to perform routine check-ups on a variety of different animals. One of my favorite activities was suturing bananas to practice proper technique. Continue reading


Let Your Summer Sizzle with STEM

By on June 30th, 2016

Summer STEM IdeasThe countdown is over and summer is now in full swing!

Can you hear the rejoicing cries of school-age children saying “no more alarm clocks,” “no teachers,” and “woohoo, no homework!”

Ask students what they want to do as they’re just beginning to submerge themselves in summer-break mode and more than likely you’ll get answers like: relax, watch TV, see movies, go to the beach, and chill with friends. Continue reading


Join an Hour of Code!

By on November 23rd, 2015

Hour of Code TutorialsComputers are everywhere, but fewer schools teach computer science than 10 years ago.

The good news is, we’re on our way to change this. If you’ve heard about the Hour of Code before, you might know it made history. More than 100 million students have tried an Hour of Code with fun online games and tutorials featuring Star Wars, Minecraft, and Frozen.

This year, students of the FLVS STEM Club will give presentations about creating websites and more. Last year, every Apple Store in the world hosted an Hour of Code and even President Obama wrote his first line of code as part of the campaign.

Over 100 partners have joined together to support this movement.  Continue reading


Student Researches Sunscreen’s Effects on Oysters

By on October 28th, 2015

Broadcom-Masters-ToonderHi! I’m Madison, a student at FLVS.

While attending a Busch Gardens camp in the summer of 2014, I learned that the park utilizes oysters to naturally filter their lakes.  I soon became fascinated with oysters, and after some research, I discovered oysters are dying globally due to pollution.

After this discovery, I formulated an experiment focusing on the effect of micronized chemical sunscreen (as used in spray sunscreen) and nanosized zinc oxide sunblock (as found in thicker, clear sunblock) on the ability of a bivalve mollusk (or oyster) to filter bay water. Continue reading


FLVS Annual Virtual Science Fair Now Open

By on September 24th, 2015

FLVS VSF 2015Are you a Florida Virtual School student with a knack for science?

Then you should consider entering the 10th Annual Virtual Science Fair (VSF) at Florida Virtual School!  The Virtual Science Fair offers students a chance to participate in student-led experiments. Top placing students will advance to the Dr. Nelson Ying Orange County Science Exposition, along with the potential to earn various awards, prizes, and scholarships.

Last year, FLVS student Jillian Hanley advanced to the State Science & Engineering Fair of Florida, earning an $84,000 scholarship along with a number of other cash awards!

Official entry forms are due by October 12, 2015.  Continue reading