CPS Science Happenings

A few things you might find interesting, courtesy of the CPS science department:

Nature in the City at the Kennedy Longfellow School

The science department, in collaboration with Mass Audubon Habitat Program, offered an engaging series of habitat explorations for the third graders at the Kennedy Longfellow School. Bronwyn Dillon and Jennifer Philips’ classes participated in an exciting Habitat study in their schoolyard, at the Charles River, and at Fresh Pond Reservation this fall. The students increased their understanding of habitats and began to identify organisms living in and around their schoolyard and the city. Students were also introduced to how these organisms interact with one another and how their physical environment influences the variety and population in a given area. Classroom displays included terrariums of collected organisms and science sketches of the different habitats.

Earth Matters Science Professional Development

Harvard Museum of Natural History and the Science department combined efforts to offer an adult science learning experience that focused on several important geologic topics in Earth’s past, present and future. Utilizing the museum’s natural history collections, exhibits, and lecture series, participants handled artifacts and specimens, explored the exhibit galleries, listened to Harvard professors speak about current topics in geologic research, and engaged in activity-based learning to sample new and fundamental ideas of geologic time, origins of the Earth, earthquakes and climate change.

Middle Grade and High School Science Teachers Working together!

This year, the middle school science teachers went to CRLS to meet with the high school science teachers to continue to smooth the 8th grade to 9th grade transition. In the first session, middle grades teachers observed 9th grade physics classes and then met with the physics teachers to discuss how to make the transition smoother, both with content connections and classroom expectations. The science department hopes to continue this work in the spring and summer preparing curriculum adjustments for the Fall of 2009.

In the second meeting, all the middle grades and high school science teachers met in small content groups – Physics, Chemistry and Biology – and looked at one piece of curriculum from middle grades and one from CRLS. The groups analyzed the prerequisite content and lab skills, as well as those developed during each lab. We plan to continue this work in our February meeting by developing a vertical sequence of science and math skills in grades 6-12. This will complement the well-defined content outcomes that already exist.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals at the Morse

The science department worked in conjunction with Vertex Pharmaceuticals to bring five researchers to Katherine Getchell’s seventh grade classes in October. The researchers worked with small lab groups as students explored phase changes and the science behind reusable hand warmers. Students engaged in conversation with the scientists, learned about how researchers use their own lab notebooks, and carried out an experiment with a “real” scientist. Currently, we are working to bring the seventh graders to Vertex for a tour of the labs and to continue the relationship begun in the fall.

Susan Agger named Fresh Pond Steward

Susan Agger, director of the Maynard Ecology Center, was recently awarded the fourth annual Fresh Pond Stewardship Award. She was honored for her long-standing commitment to, involvement with, and love for Fresh Pond Reservation. Her deep roots in environmental stewardship and knowledge of local flora and fauna as well as her keen understanding of the effects of human intervention to preserve, protect, and maintain the very best of our local environment contributed to her receipt of this award.

40 students participate in Biogen Idec Family Nights

In January, Biogen Idec opened its Community Lab to Cambridge parents and students on three separate evenings. Parents and their children worked together to perform a genetic test to determine if a patient can take a particular medicine. This was a great opportunity for parents to learn with their child through a hands-on experience. Parents learned about the many ways that Cambridge students can use the Community Lab throughout their academic career and about the many career opportunities in the biotech industry.


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