Class in session from BNL to Freeport

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As part of an ongoing partnership with the renowned Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York, district students participated in a unique teleconference with scientists from the Center for Functional Nanomaterials at BNL.

The teleconference was the result of the district’s proposal, “Bringing Nanotechnology into the High School Curriculum,” which is being accepted by the CFN and makes Freeport the first district on Long Island to have its proposal accepted by BNL. The district is also one of three across the entire state to be awarded the “Be the Change for Kids 2016 Innovation Award” for its nanotechnology curriculum.

During the teleconference, students saw their research teacher, Edward Irwin, use “big machines,” including the scanning electron microscope and scattering apparatus to determine the size of gold nanoparticles, which had been created by Irwin’s students themselves at the high school research laboratory.

The experience of watching their teacher perform experiments side-by-side with Brookhaven scientists added another unique dimension to secondary science education. During the conference, which was moderated by CFN Assitant Director Dr. James Dickerson, students had the opportunity to ask questions of the scientists, which helped to make science real and relevant to them.

“It was an honor seeing my work being used and presented by such a distinguished national laboratory,” said sophomore Leah Hochman following the teleconference. “Being able to view all of the processes being used to obtain results and images pertaining to my nanoparticles was extremely informative and eye-opening.”

Dodd seventh-grader Ryan Francois said, “I had such a great time watching the scientist do the lab and see the computer and microscope work together to give us a perfect image. I had so many questions and they answered them all so I could understand the information.  I especially loved the liquid nitrogen being used for a vacuum seal in the microscope.”  

The teleconference call linking BNL, the high school and Dodd served as an interactive way for students to step into the lab directly from their classrooms.