The Home of Midwood Science Research

2015 Brooklyn Frontiers in Science Public Lecture

Posted on Friday, November 6, 2015 by for Extra Credit, Lectures.

The Brooklyn Subsection of the American Chemical Society and the NYU Tandon School of Engineering present a free lecture to the public. The Science of Art and Color: Four thousand years of experimentation and discovery through the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Dr. Marco Leona
The Science of Art and Color
Brooklyn Frontiers in Science Lecture
Thursday, December 3, 2015, 5:30–7:00 PM
Pfizer Auditorium
NYU Tandon School of Engineering
5 Metrotech Center
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Dr. Marco Leona is the David H. Koch Scientist in Charge in the Department of Scientific Research at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

If you are interested in attending, please register here. Midwood Science Research students will receive extra credit if they attend and submit the public lecture assignment to Mr. Elert the day after. An attendance photo will also be taken.

Juniors interested in chemistry should consider using this scientific paper by Dr. Leona for Assignment 4: Analysis of a Contemporary Paper.

AP Capstone Combines English and Science

Posted on Thursday, November 5, 2015 by for Media.

AP Capstone, a rigorous program designed to prepare students for college level literature research and writing, is now being offered at Midwood, one of the six high schools in New York that currently participates in this program.

According to the College Board, AP Capstone, a two year program, is designed to provide students with core academic skills necessary for college. The program is broken into two classes: AP Seminar and AP Research. AP Seminar focuses on teaching students the skills necessary for literature research, presentation and writing research based essays. Those skills will be used later in AP Research to write an academic paper, present the paper, and defend it.

To implement AP Capstone, the English and Science departments have worked together to redesign the curriculum of the Research program to meet the standards..

"AP Capstone is a class which prepares students for college and allows them to explore their own interest," said Mr. Kamil Kraszewski, AP seminar teacher. "The class is focused on teaching students to conduct research, write college level papers and create argumentative presentations."

This course supports the New York State standards through the implementation of Common Core. For example, standard CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.1 requires students to be able to "write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence."

Mr. Kraszewski added, "It’s [the class] meant to foster independence, because just about everything we do I set the way for the students, but the way they get there is up to them. "

The class is designed as an independent research class in which students learn necessary skills, such as using online databases and understanding how to compile information, and use those skill sets to perform their own research at home.

"Its really about the revision process," said Mr. Kraszewski. "I feel that many high school students feel that once they do something it’s done, and this is again meant to prepare students a process where revising is so important."

To ensure student’s work is at a college level, the revision process is focused heavily. The student’s works are revised a multitude of times; feedback is given to the students by their peers, Mr. Kraszewski, and other teachers.

"Sophomore research is a complementary course for the AP Seminar Program," said Ms. Shaniece Mosley, sophomore research teacher. "The projects we do in sophomore research align themselves to topics that are covered in the AP Seminar class."

Students in the AP Capstone program are also part of the Research Program within the Science Department. The Research Program is a three year course that is designed to provide students with the opportunity to perform independent scientific research is various college laboratories throughout the city.

"Our curriculum has aligned itself the requirements of the AP Seminar curriculum in many ways, but the essence of what do have done in sophomore research in previous years is still there." Ms. Mosley added. "Students are doing hands on projects, learning about issues in science, doing meaningful research, evaluating sources of information, and presenting their findings to each other."

The sophomore research class is designed to provide students with basics of research methods: lab safety, basic lab procedures, finding and using sources, and presenting conclusions. These basics are aligned with the AP Seminar curriculum as AP Seminar is heavily focused on scientific literature research.

Ms. Mosley said , "We are trying to assist students in becoming scientists, we want our students to think like scientists, perform experiments, evaluate information, and eventually come to their own conclusion about the world around them."

Within the Research program, juniors perform independent research in citywide college laboratories, and during senior year, the conclusions the students arrived at are used to write scientific research papers to be submitted into various national and statewide competitions. It is being debated whether AP Research should be incorporated into the student’s schedules during junior or senior year.

"AP Capstone is a different program. We had AP Literature, and then we added AP Language and Composition, and now we added AP Capstone," said Mr. Kraszewski. "Up until three years ago, if you were a junior or a senior you had four options, you took the regular English class, Journalism, Creative Writing. or AP Literature. But now you have so many more options to pick from, and we want students to have these choices and options."

Written by Victor Lee and Jacky Lin (Class of 2016).
This article originally appeared in the October 2015 edition of Argus.

Maker Faire Sparks Creativity

Posted on Wednesday, November 4, 2015 by for Media.

Three dimensional (3D) printers, a mechanical horse, a 28 foot robot, and life-size mouse traps were just some of the scientific makings that were displayed at the 6th Annual Maker Faire.

"It was an awe inspiring experience which triggered my creative genius," said Zainab Salahudin ’17.

Thousands of people joined the Maker Movement on September 26 and 27 at the New York Hall of Science in Queens to experience the tech-influenced Do It Yourself (DIY) community. According to, there were two ticket options: single day passes and weekend passes. Tickets ranged from $30-$80 for adults (18 and up) and $20-$50 for youth and students (ages 3-17).

Junior and Senior Research students were given the opportunity to volunteer for extra credit and experience Maker Faire for free. According to Mr. Glenn Elert, research teacher, a total of 16 seniors, 10 juniors, and three alumni participated.

"I volunteered last year for extra credit and believed it was a valuable experience so there was nothing to lose volunteering again this year," said Michelle Do ’16.

Volunteers had jobs that included: helping out at the Maker Camp, giving out safety waivers, assisting makers, and providing information. Volunteer shifts ranged between four to five hours.

"I enjoyed volunteering at Maker Faire," said Wensi Wu ’17. "I got a free pass and many benefits such as a passport with my picture and a T-shirt.

People were welcomed by a 28 foot tall robot that was made from 95 percent airplane parts and had head and arms that emitted fire. It took its maker, Shane Evans, seven months to complete the masterpiece that weighed approximately 870 pounds.

"It’s very inspiring to see someone take something so ordinary and make a complex machine out of it," said Salahudin.

With a total of six zones, one more than last year, there were activities for all age groups. Children, youth, and adults were able to engage in craft and hands-on activities, drone races, and enjoy scientific musical performances played by a fire organ. Visitors were able to participate in these activities with an activity wristband, which were obtained from some of the volunteers and information tents.

Mie Abouelkheir ’16 presented a workshop on the forces of flights and catapults in Zone 4 and represented the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum. She received the opportunity to present in Maker Faire because she was an Intrepid Teen.

"I really enjoyed teaching and seeing parents and their children interact with each other and learn from each other," said Abouelkheir. "It also helped me practice my public speaking skills."

Maker Faire has grown throughout the years and can be found throughout the world. The original maker faire began with approximately 50,000 people and the amount increases every year.

Maker Faire continues to expand and become known throughout the world. According to, there are Maker Faires in Tokyo, Rome, Detroit, Oslo and Shenzhen.

"It’s a great event for showing off ideas for constructing," said Mr. Elert.

Written by Xiao Ying Huang and Jocelyn Chen (Class of 2016).
This article originally appeared in the October 2015 edition of Argus.

Researchers Battle for Spot in Siemens Finals

Posted on Tuesday, November 3, 2015 by for Media, Siemens.

Senior researchers rocked the new school year by competing in the 17th Siemens Competition.

Siemens Award Medalion

The competition was founded by the Siemens Foundation in 1999 to encourage students to participate in intensive research to improve their understanding of the core values of scientific study. Last year alone, over $500,000 in scholarships were awarded to over 2,000 applicants.

"I worked at a lab throughout the entire summer at Brooklyn College," said Asia Le ’16. "I learned a lot about scientific research while having fun."

Juniors and seniors in the Midwood Science Research program participate in college level research in laboratories throughout the city, in various fields of scientific research. With a minimum of 15 hours spent in laboratories, most students spend much more to complete their individual research experiment with the goals to complete a scientific paper describing their projects and results.

Unlike previous years, the competition was revamped, with an eco-friendly application and an earlier deadline.

"I’m so glad they’re not using paper anymore," said Mr. Glenn Elert, research coordinator. "Paperwork is a pain to send. We used to carry a box filled with stacks of paper and ship it using FedEx."

Shifting from September 30, the deadline this year was the 21, 9 days earlier. With only five school days to prepare students for both the paperwork and the research report required for the competition, time was of the essence.

"The earlier deadline is good because it forces the students to work fast," Mr. Elert added. " It free up their time for the rest of the semester."

"I stayed until tenth period on the last day to finish the application for Siemens as there was so little time I had to complete it," said Max Miloslavsky ’16. " Everything was so rushed this year."

Although the researchers were required to start preparing their lab reports over the summer, many students had incomplete reports and that was only their first hurdle.

"I thought my lab report was pretty good at first," Miloslavsky ’16 added, "but when I went over it there were parts missing and awkwardly worded."

In addition to fixing lab reports, another challenge the researchers faced were incomplete experiments. Some student’s projects were not complete and were ineligible to enter; however, they will be considered for the prestigious Intel Talent Search Competition that will be held in November.

Although no spots were awarded to Midwood researchers this year, they will continue to battle for awards in the Intel Talent Search.

Written by Victor Lee (Class of 2016).
This article originally appeared in the October 2015 edition of Argus.

Your package has been delivered

Posted on Tuesday, November 3, 2015 by for Intel STS.

Your package has been delivered
Tracking # 774879694338
Ship date:
Mon, 11/2/2015
Glenn Elert
Midwood High School
Brooklyn, NY 11210
Delivery progress bar
Delivery date:
Tue, 11/3/2015 9:52 am
Intel STS Transcripts
Society for Science and the Public
1719 N Street NW
Shipment Facts
Our records indicate that the following package has been delivered.
Tracking number: 774879694338
Status: Delivered: 11/03/2015 09:52 AM Signed for By: E.SWOOPES
Reference: Intel Transcripts
Signed for by: E.SWOOPES
Delivery location: WASHINGTON, DC
Delivered to: Receptionist/Front Desk
Service type: FedEx Priority Overnight
Packaging type: FedEx Envelope
Number of pieces: 1
Weight: 0.50 lb.
Special handling/Services: Deliver Weekday

2015 Major Trends in Modern Cancer Research

Posted on Monday, October 26, 2015 by for Extra Credit, Lectures.

On Tuesday, November 10, 2015, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center will host its tenth annual Major Trends in Modern Cancer Research lecture for high school and college students. (Members of the public are also welcome to attend.) The event will take place from 5:30–7:30 PM on the first floor of Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Rockefeller Research Laboratories building (430 East 67th Street, between York and First Avenues).

Registration is easy, but finding a seat with a good view isn’t. This event has gotten so popular that the folks at MSKCC needed to set up satellite viewing stations in adjacent conference rooms. Get there a bit early if possible. Light refreshments have traditionally been served before the lectures begin (pizza, chips, fruit, soda, coffee). Single use MetroCards will be made available for any student who needs one to attend.

One point of extra credit will be awarded to all students who attend and complete this assignment for any one of the speakers. (Consult the Extra Credit webpage for more info.) Official attendance is taken by group photo at the end of the event. Place your completed (typed) assignment in my mailbox in the Research Room at any time during the school day on Thursday, November 12.

Craig B. Thompson Moderator

Memorial Sloan Kettering President Craig B. Thompson studies molecular signaling pathways that regulate nutrient uptake and the role these pathways play in the regulation of cell growth and survival.

Anna-Katerina Hadjantonakis, PhD, Developmental Biologist In the Beginning: What Embryos Teach Us about How Cells Decide What They Want to Be

Developmental biologist Anna-Katerina Hadjantonakis studies pluripotency, cell lineage commitment, tissue patterning, and morphogenesis in the early mammalian embryo.

Cole Haynes, PhD, Cell Biology Program Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Its Consequences: From Aging to Cancer

Cell biologist Cole Haynes focuses on the molecular mechanisms of mitochondrial function during development, aging, and cancer cell growth.

Joao Xavier, PhD, Computational Biology Program Ecology of the Microbiome: What the Gut Microbiota Reveals about Human Illness

Computational biologist Joao Xavier studies computer models and quantitative experiments of biofilm and cancer growth.


Sophomores present projects in annual Science Fair

Posted on Wednesday, June 24, 2015 by for Media, Science Fair.

Bacterial growth, lactose formation, and electrolytes were just some of the topics explored by sophomores in preparation for the annual Science Fair on May 28.

"The Science Fair is an excellent way for everyone to gather together, talk about projects, and enjoy good food," said Wen Li Wang ’15.

Principal Michael McDonnell said, "This is the first time the sophomores are given the chance to create something original and present it to the school."

The Science Fair is a yearly event in which sophomores taking Research Projects present their experiments that they worked diligently on to judges. The judges included junior and senior Science Research students and alumni. Juniors and seniors were required to judge three projects and the alumni were required to judge two or three. Around 40 alumni participated in the judging this year. The entire process is student run, and teachers only step in as extras if an alumni doesn’t show up.

Unlike other years, this year, according to Ms. Jennifer Sullivan, there were only three research classes compared to last year’s four. There were also a lot more group projects.

"It went smoothly this year since there was a smaller group," said Mr. Glenn Elert, Science Research teacher. He also added that this year, judges had more time to give feedback and were able to give each project more individualized attention.

Last year, each judge was assigned five projects, which caused judges to rush to finish grading all the projects assigned to them, instead of being able to individualize their comments for each project.

Sophomores were judged based on six different components: poster, abstract, materials and methods, analysis and conclusion, and presentation. Individual projects were scored out of 60, while team projects out of 70. Each project was judged by five different randomly assigned judges to ensure a just and equitable judgment.

"It was a fair rubric and well rounded approach," said Stefanie Henry ’14. "There was room to ask questions."

One of the challenges faced by students was the lack of time to prepare for the project. Students had two weeks to perform their experiments and decorate their poster boards.

"If we had more time to do our projects," said Gary Shun ’17, "we could’ve more accurately measured the results and data."

Mark Dela Pena ’17 said, "We wanted to use a real video recorder to record actual times so they could be more accurate, but we didn’t have time." His partner, Marco Rodriguez ’17, added that the video cameras added credibility because "human perception is often flawed."

The lack of sufficient time caused many students to cut corners when finalizing their research.

Choosing a topic was also difficult for some students.

For example, Ilham Ahmed ’17 had to go through several websites before finding a topic that interested her. At the end, she finally decided to work on lactose formation in various milks.

"I chose this topic because I really like the food sciences and this is a serious issue for lactose intolerant people," said Ahmed. "They need to drink milk because of the nutrients, but they can’t have the lactose."

Finally, another challenge the students had to overcome was the limitation of resources to carry on their projects.

According to Asia Le ’16, there were many projects that involved bacteria. However, students who had projects related to bacteria were only allowed to perform the experiments with resources provided in the research room, A214.

Amna Aslam ’17, who conducted her research on acne, said, "I couldn’t get pathogens, the bacteria that causes acne, which I needed for my desired experiment. It was also hard getting statistics and analyzing the data."

Taiseer Uddin ’17 and Pauletta Lazarevskiy ’17 did their experiment on sound levels and faced many difficulties with finding a quiet room in the school to test their sound level meter. They had to talk to many teachers and switch rooms a few times in order to complete their experiment.

Despite the many difficulties and challenges sophomores faced to get ready for the science fair, the result was rewarding. Researchers were given the opportunity to investigate topics based on their hobbies and the problems they face everyday. They also developed projects that they believed would be beneficial to others.

"I like sports and I like to exercise. I know that sports drinks have electrolytes and I wanted to see if they had a higher concentration of electrolytes than orange juice," said Joanna Midura ’17. "I know you’re not supposed to drink orange juice after working out because of all the carbohydrates, but I just wanted to try and see."

Aslam decided to research on the effects of various cleansers on acne production because she felt that acne is a problem that plagues people of all ages.

"I have acne. Adults have acne. Many people have acne," said Aslam. "It’s very common and I wanted to test which products works best. Neutrogena is the most expensive and it’s always advertised as the best. However advertisers never tell us what it’s being compared to."

Ramirez and Pena decided to work on testing the effects of different Sun Protection Factors (SPF)’s on UV beads.

"We started off with this because since it’s almost summer, most people go to the beach," said Pena. "People always say SPF 100 is the best so we did a test to see whether it really was."

Overall, judges were very pleased with the projects and the amount of work that the sophomores put into creating them,

"So far I think they’re great," said Zainab Iqbal ’15. "They’re not that advanced, but that’s for junior year. This year’s projects are giving students enthusiasm for Junior Research."

Henry said, "You can tell students put a lot of dedication and time into these projects. I enjoyed seeing fellow alumni and being in the educational atmosphere again. I’m glad to see the enthusiasm for science is still strong here."

Dao Quan Lin ’13 said, "Creativity was pretty high this year, however, generating an experimental procedure still needs work."

Seniors who are currently in Science Research can be invited to judge in the next Science Fair.

"It was interesting to start here, and after going through so many competitions, come back to judge the sophomores who did the same thing I did two years ago," said Lucy Lin ’15. "It’s kind of like returning to my childhood."

Lin and Wang plan to judge the Science Fair as alumni next year after finishing their freshman year of college.

"The Science Fair is a good experience for students," said Wang. "It prepares them for college and research as a junior and/or senior."

Mr. Elert added, "It helps sophomores practice conducting experiments, analyzing data, and speaking to the public."

The Science Fair drew attention not only from those who are enthusiastic for science, but also from those who wanted to catch a glimpse of the Hornets’ display of hard work.

"It’s a different language," said Ms. Maria Feehan, a Spanish teacher. "I’m so impressed with the work of all the young scientists. They are all so prepared and poised. They can answer the questions articulately and refer back to their data charts."

Ms. Feehan added that she is impressed with all the hard work that the students put into this project and will definitely come back next year.

"I think it was the best Science Fair ever," said Principal McDonnell.

The date for awards ceremony of the Science Fair has not been determined however it will take place as soon as the scores have been calculated and places have been determined. [Editor’s note: The awards were presented Thursday, June 10, 2015.]

Written by Jocelyn Chen and Nahian Chowdhury (Class of 2016).
This article originally appeared in the June 2015 edition of Argus.
Photos courtesy of Prianka Zaman (Class of 2013).

9 years in the making… Lucy Lin awes at international competition

Posted on Tuesday, June 23, 2015 by for Intel ISEF, Media.

Victory revisited the Hornet hive as Lucy Lin’ 15 traveled to Intel ISEF (Intel International Science and Engineering Fair) on May 11. She regained an honor not bestowed to the Intel Science Research class in the last nine years by winning NYSCEF (New York Science and Engineering Fair) with her experiment on removing toxins from the ground using mushrooms.

"ISEF was a life changing experience," said Lin. "I got to meet people who are going to ivy leagues and I still keep in contact with them."

Lin and Mr. Glenn Elert, chaperone, spent one week in the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel for the competition. Mr. Elert made Lin practice her explanation for the judges and went to represent not only Midwood, but New York City. Only 18 students from New York were accepted out of the 1,700 ISEF candidates.

"Her project won because it had real world application," said Mr. Elert. "Plus she did so much work."

Currently, Lin has won first place in NYSCEF and is a finalist for ISEF. In addition, she won first place at the Brooklyn College Science Fair and third place at JSHS (Junior Science and Humanities Symposium).

Lin’s project, "Degradation of TPH-Diesel through Mycoremediation," was about finding out if she could use oyster mushrooms to clean out diesel from contaminated soil. Her conclusion was that the mushrooms weren’t able to degrade due to other factors such as PH levels and bacteria,

"We all put in a lot of effort in our projects," said Lin. "We have been working on our projects since junior year."

Currently in her lab at Brooklyn College, she is passing on her knowledge of how the lab runs and how to use the equipment to the four juniors taking over next year. She worked on her project while four other Midwood students, Vivian Cheng’ 15 and Xiao Yan Hu’ 15, Melissa Li’ 15, Wenli Wang ’15 and their professor, Dr. Joshua Cheng, continued their work.

Lin’s major struggle was the lack of available time to work on her experiment. While Dr. Cheng taught her the basics such as how to test the soil, Lin rarely saw him. As her classmates did other experiments on different topics such as Wang ’15, who researched on removing bacteria using mushrooms or Cheng ’15 who worked on gathering information on a new carbon. Lin was left in the care of Jan Mun, an artist and mushroom specialist. Due to timing of Jan Mun’s schedule, in the beginning, she was only able to attend lab twice a week and then the time was cut down to once a week.

"I’m so proud of Lucy," said Cheng ’15. "I always see her so focused on her project. She deserves the honor."

Lin does not have plans to continue her research as she wants to major in finance and mathematics at Macaulay Honors Baruch College. She leaves her work for those who will follow her.

Written by Amy Feng.
This article originally appeared in the June 2015 edition of Argus.

2015 Midwood Science Fair Results

Posted on Tuesday, June 16, 2015 by for Awards, Science Fair.

And the winners are…

1st Place

Mahmoud Abouelkheir
The Effect of Active Ingredients found in toothpaste on oral bacteria growth (Micrococcus)

Arbaz Aziz & Dmitriy Kim
The Strength of Magnetism Under Varying Temperatures

2nd Place

Allan Nosov
Using Weather Instruments and Folklore to Predict Weather

Terence Kong
The Capability of Antibacterial Soap

Angel Zou & Jennifer Phu
What’s in your seaweed? DNA Barcodes of Different Brands of Seaweed Snacks Commonly Found in Supermarkets

3rd Place

Zenab Jamil
The Primacy Effect

Carmen Zheng
The Effect of Gum and Music on Memory

Noor Asif
Henna Mixology

Sabrina Slutsky & Michelle Fogel
The Most Effective Antacid

Brianna Ku & Michelle Li
The Effect of Different Liquids on Dianthus Flower Growth

Honorable Mention

Ilham Ahmed
The Effect of a Variety of Milks on the Amount of Lactose Formed

Chunny Chi
The Effectiveness of Mouthwash Against Escherichia coli

Daniel Mirkin
The Effect of Aerated Water on Yeast Metabolism

Amy Huang
Determining how fast the ink travels across the different kinds of paper

Samuel Pun & Anthony Dinh
Denaturing Proteins under Heat

Jeannine Chen & Jimmy Li
What’s in your seaweed? DNA Barcodes of Different Brands of Seaweed Snacks Commonly Found in Supermarkets.

Alia Abdelhameed & Danielle LoPresti
The Effect of Hydrogen Peroxide Concentrations on Hair Strength

2015 Science Fair Abstract Book

Posted on Monday, May 25, 2015 by for Science Fair.

Join us in the Annex from 3:30–5:30 PM on Thursday, May 28th for the 2015 Midwood Science Fair. Special thanks to Carmine See (class of 2015) who designed the cover for this year’s abstract book.

Abstract Book Cover

☜ Newer Posts      |      Older Posts ☞
Midwood Science banner
Midwood Science Research Program
Glenn Elert — Coordinator

Midwood High School logoMidwood High School at Brooklyn College
Michael McDonnell — Principal
2839 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11210
(718) 724–8500
teachers office em ail extension
Mr. Elert (Coordinator) A214 elert@ 2141
Ms. Goldstein A317 goldstein@ 3172
Ms. Mosley A200 mosley.chem@ 2001
Ms. Sullivan A214 jsullivanbio@ 2141
administrators office em ail extension
Mr. McDonnell (Principal) 127 mmcdonn2@ 1270
Mr. Rosenfeld (Assistant Principal) A200 trosenf@ 2003