October Newsletter & Updates

Dear Science Magnet Community,

You can now make your student's magnet trip payments online at JAMSScienceMagnet.org! The revamped website is your one-stop shopping for teachers' websites, forms, photos and updates. Check back for photos and news about the 6th grade Catalina trip leaving October 28, or check out the 7th grade Yosemite trip and 8th grade AstroCamp trip pages for itinerary or packing list. 


JAMS Science Magnet is offering a new seminar in Zoology conducted by the Santa Monica College Zoology Department Head, Professor John Moss! SMC's extensive collection of specimen rivals that of a large university and we are excited to deepen our connection to higher education opportunities right across the street! 

The Gardening seminar this year has been a great success!  Filled to the max every week, students have learned about and started compost, tilled the soil, identified good and bad bugs, planned the garden and planted seeds.  We look forward to doing the chemical soil analysis, planting the garden, keeping it healthy and having a harvest! JAMS students are on their way to being stewards of our earth and environment.

Seminars are Science Magnet requirements and it's a problem when students forget or don't show up. Please help your student with putting these on their calendar with reminders.

Our sweetest fundraiser is coming up! Last year, the Magnet's See's Candy sales brought in $5,000 which helped pay for science magnet classroom supplies such as our awesome telescope, lego robotic kits and more. The sales forms will be distributed to students mid-November and the deadline is the end of November. Wondering what to get for Aunt Alice or your mailman? The goods will conveniently be distributed to students right before the holiday break! E-mail Chair, melissaht@verizon.net with questions. 

As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, we are proud to highlight our own JAMS parent, Dr. Leticia M. Toledo-Sherman, a Cuban native who is incredibly accomplished in scientific research and an inspiration to our science magnet students. She is Director of Computer-Aided Drug Design and Medicinal Chemistry for the CHDI Foundation, an organization dedicated to finding a therapeutics for Huntington’s disease, a hereditary brain disease. Dr. Toledo-Sherman holds many patents and as a Chemist, has devoted much of her career to the discovery of kinase inhibitors to treat many types of cancers and now Huntington’s disease. She has participated in a program through Cal State Fullerton assisting college-bound young women to enhance their mathematics skills in an effort to choose careers in STEM fields. Like our JAMS Science Magnet students, she was lucky to have a lot of exposure to Science education as a child, and the spark that ignited her initial interest in chemistry was inspired by a 7th-grade middle school teacher! Read more about Leticia’s fascinating background here!


10/14/2016 Japan Exchange application available on website!

10/28-30/2016 6th Grade

Catalina Trip at Catalina Island Marine Institute - SIGN UP TO RECEIVE TEXT UPDATES HERE

11/29/2016 - 7th Grade

Yosemite Trip Meeting, 6:30pm in the Cafeteria. Students attendance mandatory as well.

12/1/2016 - 8th Grade

AstroCamp Trip Parent Meeting, 6:30-7:30pm in the Cafeteria 

Updates from JAMS Science Magnet

Dear Friends of JAMS Science Magnet,

We hope everyone's school year is off to a good start and want to welcome our new JAMS Science Magnet families!

Several Magnet families with 7th and 8th grade students are off this weekend to Morro Bay, and the next round of seminars for 6th, 7th and 8th grade students is around the corner! There is a lot happening with JAMS Science Magnet this year and we are excited to share the news and keep you up to speed.

There will be a meeting for all 7th-8th Grade parents this Thursday, 9/22 at 6:30pm in the Library. Light snacks will be served. For future meetings and dates, please see our SCIENCE MAGNET CALENDAR.

Seminar sheets for Round 2 will go out Wednesday and Thursday of this week and will be due Friday (9/23). This round of seminars starts on 10/4 and ends 11/10. We are piloting an exciting seminar facilitated by SMC Professor of Zoology in their lab. Due to the equipment limitations at SMC, space is very limited.

We are always looking to expand our choice of science magnet seminars. If you know of an expert or hobbyist in any scientific field who would be interested in facilitating a seminar for an afternoon or two with our bright and inquisitive students, please contact board@jamssciencemagnet.org or speak with Ms. Jurewicz.

We have a few Chair positions still open on the Science Magnet Board and we welcome you to join or volunteer. We hold monthly meetings that are open for our Magnet families to sit in on.

NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik is a Grant/JAMS/Samohi graduate and was crew on the Space Shuttle Atlantis Mission in 2009. When asked about who influenced him in his scientific journey, Randy said “I remember a 6th-grade teacher and a guidance counselor in middle school, and a music teacher in college, all of whom went above and beyond.”

JAMS is helping to create opportunity pathways for our great thinkers of tomorrow!

If you have any questions, suggestions or concerns, please e-mail us at board@jamssciencemagnet.org

See's Candy Fundraiser

Science Magnet families have the opportunity participate in one of the sweetest fundraisers, last year our See's Candy sales brought in $5,000 which helps pay for scholarships and science magnet classroom supplies!  The sales forms will be distributed to students on November 11, 2016, and the deadline will be November 30, 2016. Candy will be distributed to students right before the holiday break around December 19, 2016.

RoboVikings: Our Rookie Year was a Winner!

It was an exciting year for JAMS’ newly-formed RoboVikings team, SMMUSD’s first team to enter the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC®) worldwide robotics competition.  “This is big step for our school,” said JAMS Principal Steve Richardson. “Beyond the alignment to 21st century skills, this pilot program will expose our students to the iterative engineering design cycle.” FTC is a robotics competition for grades seven through 12 that promotes project-based learning using real-world math and science concepts. Over 50,000 students on 5,000+ teams around the world participated in FTC’s 2015/2016 season.

As the team got started, the RoboVikings broke into several sub-teams under the leadership of Coach Mohamed Abid, who brought to the team a wealth of expertise from his years leading engineering projects at JPL and NASA. Those teams worked on a variety of tasks important to the robotics competition, from robot design and building to programming, and from computer-aided design (CAD) and 3D printing to community outreach and fundraising. The world of FTC is not just about building the best robot, but learning to work with others – including students from other teams, parent mentors, and local businesses – with “gracious professionalism,” a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community.

All that hard work paid off for the RoboVikings, who qualified to advance to the regional finals based on their participation in their very first competition last December.  Not only did the team’s robot score well in matches that day, but the team won the “Motivate Award” which goes to the team that exemplifies the essence of FTC through team building, team spirit and exhibited enthusiasm.  At the regional finals this spring, the team fought fiercely down to their very last match, which was their absolute best performance in the whole season! Although the RoboVikings didn’t end up qualifying to advance further, it was an amazing performance against students and teams with much older and experienced members. At the end of our first season, we are very proud to say that our rookie team ended up amongst the Top 10 teams in Southern California! Go RoboVikings!

Japan Exchange 2016

John Adams Middle School Sends Fifth Delegation of Students to Japan

12-Day Adventure is Part of Long Standing Exchange Program with City of Kizugawa

The Santa Monica Science Magnet at John Adams Middle School just sent its fifth delegation of students to Kizugawa, Japan this month for a 12-day adventure.  The Science Magnet has been part of a Cultural Exchange Program with the City of Kizugawa for the past 18 years.  For 18 summers we have hosted students from Japan for a weekend long homestay, where students have stayed with John Adams Middle School families to experience Santa Monica from an insider’s perspective.  Additionally, for the past 5 years, we have been sending JAMS Science Magnet Students to Japan to share in this cultural exchange and broaden their horizons.  

This year’s delegation included 11 students, three parent chaperones, and one teacher, Ms. Kristin Jurewicz.  They visited the Nature museum in Tokyo, beautiful Mt. Fuji, and the Golden Temple in Kyoto.  From their home base in our exchange city of Kizugawa, they rode the bullet train to visit nearby attractions such as the Osaka Aquarium and an enlightening visit at the Peace Museum in Hiroshima.  The Kizugawa city hosts also greeted the students with an official meeting with the Mayor, a traditional tea ceremony, and a visit to a local middle school.  The highlight of the trip was most certainly the graciousness and hospitality with which all the students were greeted by their host families, as they were delighted to each be matched to stay individually with a Japanese family.  During their homestay, they were immersed in Japanese culture and experienced life as a Japanese youth.  Many of our students returned from this trip with a newfound respect for others and a broader perspective about the world around them. One student said tearfully when leaving his host family, “As I lost sight of them, I knew I would never forget them, and I hope to come back soon to see them.  My experience at the homestay was amazing, and I hope I am just one of many Santa Monica students that gets to meet the wonderful people of Kizugawa.”

This wonderful educational experience was generously supported by grants from the City of Santa Monica, the Santa Monica Science Magnet, and John Adams Middle School.

Japan Trip By Ava Kemper

This 2015 summer Japan trip was an incredible experience! We visited many amazing cities including Tokyo, Kyoto. Kizugawa and Osaka. Throughout the trip we stayed in a variation of places from hotels, to a youth training center and even a homestay. We got to try all kinds of Japanese food from hotel buffets, nice restaurants. vendors. and the soft served ice cream that was found everywhere. We took the subways, trains. the bullet train and buses every day for sightseeing. Our trip was filled with museums, aquariums, gardens, temples, shrines, parks, boat rides, and much more that we will never forget. 

During our stay in Kizugawa we had to play the important role of ambassador. We had the opportunity and responsibility to represent our school and our country. It was really fun and exciting to learn about Japanese culture and interact with other ambassadors, the mayor, students and many other people. I think we had a great group and left a great impression on our hosts. I hope we succeeded as ambassadors and continued to further strengthen the relationships between Future travelers should know that there's a lot of preparation involved with planning this trip. It’s a good idea to do some research beforehand, but lots of that is done in the group meetings held prior to the trip. It's also really important to be respectful, in any new culture. but especially Japan. For me this trip was exciting, adventurous, amazing, and an experience that I'll never forget. I highly recommend applying if you have the chance, and if not. someday visiting Japan on your own.

The Japan Cultural Exchange Program has been generously supported by the City of Santa Monica, the Santa Monica Science Magnet, and John Adams Middle School. Scholarships are available for those who apply. 

Chemistry Seminar at SMC

The SMC Chem Club hosted a special seminar for our magnet students in their chemistry labs for a complete college experience. They worked on high level lab activity in which they determined the concentration of tartrazine (yellow dye 5) found in Mountain Dew.

8th Grade Mousetrap Cars

The students work alone or with a partner to build a car powered by the spring of a mousetrap applying physics principles of friction, speed and distance learned in the classroom.

RoboVikings in the Santa Monica Daily Press

Santa Monica students gain 21st Century tech skills as SMMUSD‚
first-ever robotics team launches

This fall, a team of SMMUSD student robotics enthusiasts will put their engineering skills to the test as they compete for a spot in the worldwide FIRST Tech Challenge championship.

The newly formed “RoboVikings” team, which began meeting weekly this fall at John Adams Middle School (JAMS), will be the district’s firstever group to enter the worldwide robotics competition.

“This is big step for our school in introducing innovative engagement opportunities in STEM related content areas,” JAMS Principal Steven Richardson said. “Beyond the alignment to 21st century skills, this pilot program will expose our students to the iterative engineering design cycle. Inherent in this process is the notion of learning from failure. This is an invaluable lesson to learn at this age and can be applied to all parts of our lives.”

Full Article


Hispanic Heritage Month

Dr. Franklin Chang Diaz

During Hispanic Heritage Month the Science Magnet hosted a call with NASA Hall of Fame Inductee Dr. Franklin Chang Diaz to recognize his remarkable scientific legacy. Science Magnet students learned of Dr. Chang's journey from an aspiring astronaut in Costa Rica, to becoming the first Latino in space, with a record holding of 7 space missions throughout his career. He also spoke of his current projects including the development of a plasma propulsion engine to power a potential human mission to Mars.

Learn more about Dr. Diaz here.