The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 2015 in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania has begun. 2000 science, technology, engineering, and math students from across the globe — with 18 from New York City including Lucy Lin from Midwood High School.
The New York City Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) is a youth program under the administrative aegis of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). ACT-SO is an enrichment program designed to encourage high academic and cultural achievement among under-served minority high school students. Near the end of every academic year, ACT-SO students participate in an “Olympics of the Mind”, which was held on Saturday, April 18 at the George Wingate Educational Complex. The awards ceremony was held on Tuesday, May 5, 2014 at St. Francis College.
Midwood received 6 gold medals, 4 silver medals, 4 bronze medals, 3 ambassador awards, and 1 outstanding teacher award. The big winner was Tanisha Williams with 2 gold medals in the humanities (poetry and short story). All medalists receive an honorarium from a New York City branch of the NAACP — $500 for gold, $300 for silver, $200 for bronze, and $125 for ambassadors (student recruiters). Gold medalists go on to compete in the National ACT-SO in Philadelphia July 11–15, 2015.
Brooklyn College Science Research Day has been an annual tradition for the past 25 years. It’s a one day event that showcases the research of undergraduate and graduate students at Brooklyn College and from local high schools. Nearly 170 students presented their research across 14 categories in STEM, with over 50 faculty members from the college serving as judges. First, second and third place prizes are awarded in the high school, undergraduate and the graduate divisions. The 2015 Science Research Day was held on Friday, May 8. For the second year in a row, Midwood Science students received every award in the high school division.
Five Midwood Science students were Semifinalists in this year’s Young Naturalist Awards — a competition for students in grades 7–12 who explore the natural world around them in a scientific manner. Students summarize their findings in a research paper of 1,500–4,000 words which is then judged by a panel of experts. This competition is supervised by the American Museum of Natural History.
This year’s winners were mentored by two professors at Brooklyn College with outstanding histories of support for Midwood Science: Dr. Frank W. Grasso in the Department of Psychology and Dr. Zhongqi Joshua Cheng in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.
Dr. Grasso’s students and collaborators study the feral population of monk parakeets in and around Brooklyn College. Like many Midwood Science students, these birds are the decedents of recent immigrants. Monk parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus) are native to Argentina and surrounding countries but have managed to start numerous, small colonies scattered across North America and Europe. All monk parakeets outside their original habitat are most certainly the descendants of escaped or unwanted pets. Midwood Science students Muhammad Abdulla, Monique Powell, and Yukie Wong studied various aspects of the behavior of these intelligent and entertaining birds.
Dr. Cheng’s students and collaborators have been working on ways to clean up contaminated soil in and around the Newtown Creek area on the northwestern border between Brooklyn and Queens. The New York Times reported that an estimated 17 million to 30 million gallons of oil, benzene, naphtha and other carcinogenic chemicals pollute Newtown Creek and a 55 acre, 25 foot deep swath of soil in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Contamination wasn’t due to a single catastrophic release, but was the result of 100 years of lax environmental protection. Midwood Science students Lucy Lin and Wen Li Wang are working on ways to clean up the soil using oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus). Lucy and Wen Li worked alongside and under the supervision of Ms. Kate Lenahan (Research Assistant), Ms. Danielle Wagner (Lab Technician), and Ms. Jan Mun (Media Artist and Director of The Greenpoint Bioremediation Project).
All juniors and seniors with a currently active research placement who would like to apply for a 1.05 weighted research course (Advanced Science Research) for the spring semester of 2015 must fill out, print, sign, and present this form to their supervising teacher along with an up to date lab log. An "active" placement is one with 16 hours (on average) of lab log entries per month for the first four months of 2015. Seniors should take care of this on Thursday, April 30 or Friday, May 1 (your choice). Juniors should do this during the week of May 4–8 at their regularly scheduled meeting.
Special note just for the juniors. A placement is not official until your mentor has contacted me saying you have been accepted to work in their lab. It should also state the date you began working there. Some of you have done this and some of you have not. The official record of this is kept in the Google Docs spreadsheet called “mentors (shared)”. You were all sent an invitation to this spreadsheet in October. View it and check your status. If you see a date next to your mentor’s name, you’re OK. If not, contact them immediately and ask them to email me before the end of the marking period (Monday, May 4, 2015).
The Midwood Science Fair is only 5 weeks away. Right now as you read this the sophomore research students are diligently working on their projects, formulating hypotheses, and plotting the best way to gather and analyze data. The juniors and seniors are sharpening their metaphorical pencils as well as their literal questioning skills. The alumni judges are looking forward to seeing old friends at Midwood once again. The teachers are keeping their students focused. Everyone is coordinating their schedules to make sure they’re ready for Thursday, May 28, 2015.
The High School Physics Photo Contest is looking for high school students who can explain physical principles through photography and writing. Photos may be entered in one of two categories and will be judged on the quality of the photo and the accuracy of the written explanation.
I will be glad to give anyone advice on photographic composition or copy writing, but Dr. Riemersma will be supervising this competition for Midwood. The deadline for entries is Friday, May 15, 2015, but if you give Dr. R your photo for the first time on this day you will not be allowed to enter. There is a limit of 15 entries per school.
Please read the Student Rules before beginning. You may already have a photo in your archives that could be used for this competition. Look to the past winning entries for inspiration. This event is sponsored by the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT).
On Thursday, May 14, 2015, the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) will host a program highlighting NASA’s New Horizons mission — the first-ever mission to the Pluto system and the Kuiper belt. This mission, which will have its closest approach to Pluto in July 2015, will help us understand ice worlds at the edge of our solar system by making the first reconnaissance of the planet Pluto and its moons, and by venturing deeper into the distant, mysterious Kuiper belt — a relic of solar system formation.
Students will have an opportunity to listen to AMNH’s Director of Astrovisualizations, Carter Emmart, New Horizons Deputy Project Scientist Cathy Olkin, New Horizons Co-Investigator Marc Buie and, Science Operations Team, Tiffany Finley present a dynamic and richly-illustrated overview of the mission and the men and women who make it possible, leaving time for interaction and one-on-one encounters.
This event is being coordinated by Mr. Spergel. He is taking everyone in his AP Physics 1 class, but he has room for a few more students. Contact Mr. Spergel directly if you are interested. This is a field trip, so paperwork needs to be done. The group will depart period 3 on Thursday, May 14, 2015. Extra credit will be awarded to research students who participate and complete the public lecture assignment for any one of the speakers.
The CUNY-NOAA-CREST Weather Camp is a two week program for high school students from the New York City metropolitan area. It runs August 3–14, 2015 and is offered free of charge to 10–15 students. Applications are due Sunday, May 31.
The first week is a day camp on the campus of the City College of New York. Concepts of meteorology are demonstrated by hands-on activities whenever possible, and applied to weather observations both locally and around the country. Experts on such topics as severe storms and climate will speak and answer questions.
During the second week the camp moves to Long Island to be near the local National Weather Service (NWS) office at Brookhaven National Laboratories. Students will camp within walking distance of a beach on the north shore of Long Island, and will go to the NWS for in depth study of weather phenomena. There will be opportunities to go inside a radar dome and help launch weather balloons. Afternoons will be devoted to field observations of the sea breeze effect, urban heat island, surface environment, and clouds.
For people who like acronyms CUNY is the City University of New York, NOAA is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and CREST is the Center of Excellence in Remote Sensing Science and Technology.
Midwood Science Research Program
Glenn Elert — Coordinator
|Midwood High School at Brooklyn College
Michael McDonnell — Principal
2839 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11210
|Mr. Elert (Coordinator)||A214||elert@||midwoodscience.org||2141|
|Mr. McDonnell (Principal)||127||mmcdonn2@||schools.nyc.gov||1270|
|Mr. Rosenfeld (Assistant Principal)||A200||trosenf@||schools.nyc.gov||2003|