BEDFORD, N.Y. – Fox Lane middle schoolers got to use their own—and other—brains last week as part of the Bedford Central School District’s “Brain STEM Experience!”
In this case, STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, as the mission focuses on projects that allow students to participate in hands-on programs with scientists and educators from the New York Hall of Science (NYSci) through a distance live-learning video stream.
Working in groups of three and four, students examined and dissected a sheep brain. They compared and contrasted it to a human brain, applying concepts learned in class, and interacted with experts from NYSci. The enrichment program was conducted in collaboration with NYSci, the Dochtermann Family, and Fox Lane Middle School 7th grade science teachers Karyn Langke, Christine Ledrich and Malynda Nichol.
Bedford resident and NYSci Vice Chair Melissa Vail attended a class session dissection to see the STEM experience first-hand.
“It was a great morning with a very engaged classroom, enthusiastic teachers, and lots of interested administration,” she said.
“It is exciting for NYSci to have a strong school partner, one that's serious about STEM, and blessed with teachers with strong subject-matter competence. The school board is in the middle a bond proposal for capital improvements, including renovation of the FLMS 6 science labs, making them more adaptable to design and project-based learning. We look forward to having NYSci share input and experience into the reworking of these learning spaces,” added Vail.
In addition to benefiting over 340 students, the Brain STEM Experience included programming and curriculum exploration by special guests who were invited from surrounding school districts, as well as BCSD, to learn about NYSci’s school enrichment programs.
“It was a great opportunity for our students to engage in a brain dissection in a novel and exciting format, and a wonderful 'kick-off' for conversations about what our next steps toward building a meaningful partnership with NYSCI,” said BCSD Science Department Director Stacey Haynsworth.
Fox Lane East House Director Mr. Briceno shared Haynsworth’s enthusiasm.
“The kids were still talking about the Brain STEM Experience as the day progressed!” he said. “The school was a buzz about the experience and the kids looked great in their brain hats.”
For the students who were mesmerized by the experience, NYSci provided each student with a free admission ticket to their facilities to continue their education.