First-grade STEM students pair up with Fifth-grade learning buddies to test invisible ink used by the Sons of Liberty during the Revolutionary War.

First-grade students have been studying the American Revolutionary War and their third quarter STEM challenge was designed to integrate this period in history into their STEM training. The class was divided into teams of Red Coats and Patriots and spent three weeks developing and testing various invisible ink recipes. Students successfully created an invisible ink consisting of oak gall solution which was readily revealed when exposed to an iron sulfate solution, just like the invisible ink used by George Washington and the Sons of Liberty.  

Each team crafted a letter to their fifth-grade spy partners that included secret information written in invisible ink with instructions on how to either support or hinder Robert Newman, the sexton of the Old North Church who hung the signal lights that launched Paul Revere on his famous midnight ride. The first team to reveal the message, navigate the obstacle course, and respond to “Mission Control” was crowned victor. Luckily, when Robert Newman visited the students, he was holding two signal lights indicating that Paul Revere was successfully on his way to Concord and Lexington and a victory for the Patriots. The event was capped off with tasty treats and much conversation and laughter.