Can Students Conduct Real-Life Science Experiments?

Today, science education reaches beyond paper and pencil to explore principles in action as never before. Students’ ability to perform investigations, draw valid conclusions, and explain outcomes translates into critical life skills.

Nation's Report Card logoTomorrow, National Center for Educational Statistics Commissioner John Buckley and a panel of experts will discuss the results from a new generation of hands-on and computer tasks administered during the 2009 NAEP Science Assessment, and how those results shed light on student achievement in these areas.

You are invited to join the panel of experts to find out how fourth-, eighth-, and 12th-grade students performed when asked to manipulate multiple variables or engage in strategic decision-making; how often students engage in classroom science experiments and report-writing; and much more.

This event will take place within a unique interactive science exhibit hosted by Living Classrooms at the Foundry Lofts in Washington, D.C. Attend in person or via live webcast to review results, watch video of students conducting experiments from the assessment, and view simulations of interactive computer-based science tasks.

Watch the live release of the results June 19, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. ET.

To view the webcast, click here.

If you are in the Washington D.C. area, you can attend the release event in person at the Science + You Exhibit Space at The Foundry Lofts. Find directions to the event and register to attend in person here.

Students in Bergen County Make Food Magic for Cancer Patients

Taco Ravioli. Peanut Butter Cran-Jelly. Carrot Raspberry Ice Cream. Pompeii Soup.

These aren’t nouveau cuisine available from top chefs at a four-star restaurant. They’re a few of foods created by high school students who designed them to fit the palates and nutritional needs of child cancer patients

I had the chance meet these student-chefs when I visited the Culinology program at the Teterboro, N.J., campus of the Bergen County Technical High School.

Even though I met the students and their teachers the day before their December holiday break, Principal David Tankard reassured they were looking forward to meeting me, not just the vacation ahead. “They want to be here,” he told me. “They love to have the opportunity to share their work.”

Upon entering the brightly painted workspace to meet 18 students in elegant black shirts, ready to present their research and findings, I knew he was right.

Culinology is a discipline that blends the culinary arts and food science. Students study the advanced science and technology of food production and use that knowledge to invent their own food products. Science teachers, seasoned chefs and technology faculty collaborate to provide students with both theoretical and practical knowledge. Strong relationships with partners (Rutgers University, Hackensack University Medical Center and The Research Chefs Association, whose education committee approved the program) enhance the program.

Teacher-Chef Dominic Branda offered me a delicious cup of coffee and presented a selection of student-made pastries while the student teams prepared their presentations. The teams taught me about their research creating suitable foods for children going through chemotherapy. Such children often lack appetite and may have sores in their mouths, they said. Still, it’s essential to create soothing foods that provide nutrients for young palates.

Soup“We’re still children,” one chef told me, “so we still know what tastes good to them.”

A group of young men took the floor to present their creation. “Our soup is based on the volcano at Pompeii,” one informed me. “It’s packed with nutrition and is also an aesthetically pleasing comfort food. Each item in the soup represents an item from the site – trees, lava and volcanic wreckage – so this way the children learn some history while they eat.”

“Our reduced sugar Carrot Raspberry Ice Cream is cold on the children’s throats,” a student informed me, her open face showing sincere compassion.

A classmate added, “When you can’t eat, you just want something that’s magic inside.”

“That’s all part of this,” said Principal Tankard. “The students are really engaged in service to the community and are motivated by the fact that their work will help the children in treatment.”

I left the school visit feeling inspired. These high school chefs and their teachers teach all of us about the magic that happens when powerful teams learn and work together.

Maryann Woods-Murphy 

Maryann Woods-Murphy is a Washington Teaching Ambassador Fellow who teaches Spanish in Allendale, NJ. She is also the 2009-2010 New Jersey Teacher of the Year.

Read Secretary Arne Duncan’s 2010 remarks about the importance of A Well-Rounded Curriculum.