Posts for the MicroGlobalScope Project

November 11th, 2013

A new partnership with Universidade Estadual de Londrina in Brazil

Mariana Tóffolo and Prof Silmara Sartoreto with their MicroGlobalScope kit.

Science House Foundation is excited to announce a new partnership in Brazil in collaboration with the Universidade Estadual de Londrina in Brazil’s southern state of Paraná.

You can read the original announcement in Portuguese on the UEL site here.

This past summer, Mariana Machado Tóffolo, a Biological Sciences Major who was awarded Brazil’s prestigious Scientific Mobility Program scholarship (Ciência sem Fronteiras in Portuguese), spent one year studying in the United States, and completed a three-month internship at Science House Foundation, under the coordination of Joshua Fouts, Executive Director of the Foundation.

When Mariana returned to Brazil, she began a research project in partnership with Science House Foundation under the coordination of Dr. Silmara Sartoreto de Oliveira, Professor of Biological Sciences at UEL, (Londrina State University). The research project aims to spark interest in children 10-14 years old in topics related to science, and from there encourage a new generation of future scientists. Professor Sartoreto’s research has focused primarily on pedagogy in the Biological Sciences.

The project being developed by Mariana and under the direction of Professor Silmara is linked to Science House Foundation’s MicroGlobalScope program. Science House Foundation is headquartered in New York City with partners in 28 countries.

Through this partnership, UEL in Londrina, now represents a new pole in Brazil, putting the University on the map pursuing unique cultural collaboration, informal-science education research. The research will use a hands-on approach providing an environment where students can explore their own knowledge through an investigative educational framework. The children will study microscopic specimens of some organisms, which will be visualized and compared with the two types of microscopes that are included in the MicroGlobalScope program — an upright Celestron microscope and a hand-held MiScope, which has been used for forensics research, which were donated for research by Science House Foundation.

UEL and Science House Foundation plan to collaborate in developing a longitudinal survey and image data, with a focus on pedagogy and learning processes, beginning with discussions around the initial observations of the students. This project will also focus on the importance of core training of UEL students of Biological Sciences. They will be able to use the kits donated by Science House Foundation in their teaching internships, and thus experiment with new teaching approaches, techniques and methodologies.

June 11th, 2013

MicroGlobalScope Welcomes Cambodia’s CIA FIRST International School to the Community

Joyce Ira Yarza of Cambodia’s CIA FIRST International School with Mai Le of Everest Education as Joyce picks up her MicroGlobalScope kit.

A few weeks ago, Science House Foundation supporter Suzanne Cruse invited Executive Director Joshua Fouts to meet social entrepreneur Tony Ngo, co-founder of Everest Education an education NGO in Vietnam which is focuses on improving the education opportunities of K-12 students in Vietnam. Tony is a passionate leader who has launched several other non-profits.

We agreed to partner with Tony to bring Everest Education into MicroGlobalScope family of schools. It turned out that Tony was leaving for Vietnam in a few days. He offered to deliver the MicroGlobalScope equipment to Vietnam personally. (More on that in a later post.)

Joshua asked him if he had any extra space in his suitcase for one more MicroGlobalScope kit. It turns out he did.

Last December Science House Foundation awarded a MicroGlobalScope kit to Cambodia’s CIA FIRST International School in Phnom Penh. However, due to import restrictions, we were unable to deliver the equipment. Tony offered to deliver the microscopes to Ho Chi Minh City if we could arrange to have them picked up.

Joyce Ira Yarza a science teacher at the CIA FIRST International School, who had been patiently awaiting her MicrGlobalScope kit for the past six months agreed to make the drive to Vietnam.

Joyce sent us the below dispatch from her journey, including a special message from her students. (Thanks to Science House Foundation supporter Alex Le Fontaine for introducing us to Joyce.)

Arrival at the Everest Education building in Ho Chi Minh City.

My trip to Ho Chi Minh City took roughly 7 hours by bus and though it may sound tiring and boring, I’d say it was all worth it because Mai and Don of Everest Education were so hospitable and accommodating. I also met Hieu Le who is one of their teachers in the school. All three of them amazed me with their passion and dedication to give their students quality education which is the same vision we have at CIA FIRST. It’s truly an honor to meet and be acquainted with new people whom we can collaborate with in terms of making education, especially making science better for our students. All of us were able to discuss our plans for the project and promised to keep in touch for updates and future activities.

When I arrived back here in Cambodia, I took a chance to play with the equipment and they’re all awesome. I personally loved the MiScope because it’s handy and very easy to use. When I showed it to my students, all of them wanted to extend our science class and discover more things under it. However, since our exams are due next week, we have postponed our activity till the last week of the month, just before we go on our vacation. I also took the opportunity to teach a couple more of science teachers at school to familiarize themselves with the new microscopes. With these equipment, I am sure that science will be so much exciting for the next school year. FYI, we’re going to have a dedicated club for this project,, so we’ll keep you in touch with our activities through our blog posts.

Mai Le and Don Le of Everest Education in Vietnam with their microscopes.

February 14th, 2013

MicroGlobalScope and the Davidson Institute: Collaborating on International Science Education

One of Science House Foundation’s newest collaborators in 2012 was the Davidson Institute at the Weizmann Institute in Israel. The Davidson Institute has a series of science education programs for children in the region. We wanted to bring a cross-section of the children they work with into our MicroGlobalScope network, which is presently connecting kids, teachers and scientists in 25 countries. Science House Foundation provided two MicroGlobalScope kits to the Davidson Institute to provide to two different schools in Israel, one each Arabic and Hebrew-speaking. Our partnership with the Davidson Institute, as with many of our partners on the ground in countries augments our mission of sparking the imaginations of kids worldwide about the excitement of science by creating an additional layer of consistency and stability.

Dr. Ariel Heimann of the Davidson Institute gave a speech at Science House earlier this week and shared with us a report by Drs. Yossi Elran and Carmel Bar about how the past year went for them. We are pleased to share this with you. It provides an honest and accurate take on the first, year, including one of the challenges we face periodically, which is that technology sent halfway around the world can fail. In this case, the Celestron Microscope we purchased failed. Since it is an international shipment we have to purchase a new one. The challenges of running an international NGO is not without challenges.

We welcome your input. You an also support the work of Science House Foundation by helping us purchase microscopy kits. We invite you to donate today to help us change the lives of kids worldwide through science.

December 2nd, 2012

MicroGlobalScope Inspires Kids to want to Learn Authentically

Science House Foundation MicroGlobalScope grantee and collaborator Jerry Pavlon-Blum of New York City’s Gateway School describes how our MicroGlobalScope program is changing the lives of his students. In this moving video, Jerry describes how connecting with kids around the world provides surprise incentives for his students, many of whom have social and learning disabilities.

Jerry is also transforming the way that kids think of science. After the science module, Jerry had the students take the microscope to their drama and literature class to think about science as more integrated into their lives. He tells the story of how the kids were so inspired by the integration of art and science that they made a play out of their microscopy discoveries.

Art and Science are augmenting the learning experiences of these kids.

We are thrilled to be collaborating with Jerry and the important work he is doing to take kids on their own terms and help them reach their potential.

August 2nd, 2012

Science Education in Serbia: Why Students Love Microscopy


Science House Foundation recently supported a science fair in Serbia, here’s their story.

Over the past two years we have really enjoyed collaborating with our Serbian grant partners the Ivo Andric school and Serbian Science NGO Sfera, and especially Science teacher Dejan Boskovic.

Dejan was one of our earliest MicroGlobalScope grantees. And he has continued to demonstrate how passionate science teachers inspire students to greatness.

Just last year one of Dejan’s students became a celebrity on Serbian television when he put one of his baby teeth under one of the microscopes we provided.

We are pleased to present a new video produced by Sfera which tells the story of a student Science Fair in Serbia supported in part by a grant from Science House Foundation.

We hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we did.

June 28th, 2012

Profile: Dr. Ana Carolina Zeri on Why She Became a Scientist

 

  Dr. Ana Carolina Zeri describes her work at LNBio and gives a tour of the Synchrotron lab.

The mission of Science House Foundation is to get kids around the world excited about science and to spark their imaginations. Part of how we work to accomplish this mission of inspiring and imagination-sparking is through storytelling: sharing the stories of why and how adults, especially women, choose to become scientists.

We regularly profile scientists, students and teachers around the world whose stories represent the mission and spirit of Science House Foundation. The story of Dr. Ana Carolina Zeri is a Brazilian biochemist who directs an open lab at LNBio, Brazil’s national biosciences laboratory.

When we first met Ana she told us the moving story of how and why she became a scientist, and  we in turn felt compelled to share it with the world. Her story is one of perseverance, inspiration and drive. As a woman raised in a small town in Brazil, the expectation for Ana was that she stay home, work for the family, and not attend college. Yet she found a way.

June 28th, 2012

The Remarkable Story of Science Catalyzing Literacy in Brazil

 

 

One of the most exciting parts of Science House Foundation’s collaboration with LNBio, Brazil’s national biosciences laboratory, in the city of Campinas, was the placement of a new MicroGlobalScope grant at a local Non-Governmental Organization called Anhumas/Quero-Quero. MicroGlobalScope is a Science House Foundation program that provides complete microscopy kits to science teachers who work with 10-12 year old students and then connects them through a collaborative website.

The above video in Portuguese with English subtitles tells the story of a breakthrough moment where the combination of art with science inspired illiterate children from the slums of Brazil to ask to be taught to read and write. Science House Foundation uses microscopy as an opportunity not just to inspire kids to study science but also as a means to spark their curiosity about the hidden world around them — and the excitement of learning in general.

We hope you will enjoy this story as much as we did.

May 10th, 2012

About the MicroGlobalScope Program

Inside the MicroGlobalScope kit, which is sent to our grantees, now in over 20 countries around the world.

The MicroGlobalScope program seeks to spark the imaginations of 10-12 year olds worldwide about the excitement of science and cultural collaboration. Founded in 2010 by Science House Foundation founder, James Jorasch, the program provides a complete microscopy kit (shown above) to qualified schools and science teachers. MicroGlobalScope operates in more than 20 countries. Participating teachers share student discoveries on a collaborative website. In this way, students learn that science is not only exciting, but collaborative.

Participating schools receive the following in their MicroGlobalScope kit:

  • Celestron LCD Deluxe Digital Microscope
  • Zarbeco MiScope<
  • Canon Powershot camera
  • 4G Memory Card
  • Plastic Pipettes
  • Glass slides
  • Plastic Cover Slips
  • Plastic Petri dishes

Teachers also receive a collection of microscopy books such as “Guide to Microlife” by Kenneth G. Rainis, and “The Usborne Complete Book of the Microscope: Internet Linked” by Kirsteen Rogers.

Learn more about the MicroGlobalScope program or apply for your school here.

Watch the story of our New York City grantee at the Henry Street School for International Studies.

April 20th, 2012

Grantee Spotlight: Henry Street School for International Studies

On an ongoing basis, Science House Foundation will share videos about some of our MicroGlobalScope grantees and collaborators located in over 20 countries around the world. Today, it is our pleasure to bring you a video filmed and edited by Brazilian documentarian André Blas about a Science House Foundation MicroGlobalScope grantee in New York City.

Melissa Scott is a middle school science teacher at the Henry Street School for International Studies in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Melissa has a diverse population of students, some of whom are recent immigrants to the US from China and other places. Many don’t speak English, but the philosophy of the school is that every student deserves an education regardless of his or her starting point. This notion tends to drive the school’s test scores down, which hurts them when it comes to funding related to test performance. Oddly, the school is situated in a building that is shared with other schools. The difference is clear just from walking down the halls. The students at Henry Street School for International Studies don’t have lockers and must carry their books around all day while their peers in the other school have a place to store their things. This relative disadvantage is felt by the students, many of whom already have difficulty reading and writing and staying motivated to become interested in learning. Melissa’s students dove in with their imaginations sparked as soon as their microscopy kit arrived.

Making scientific discoveries and sharing them with each other and students around the world inspired some of the students to document their findings to record their observations. Students in Brazil have also started to create art and write stories about their discoveries, which made us realize that this method of experiential science learning has a wonderful extrinsic benefit of catalyzing a desire to read and write.

We are thrilled to share her story (and the story of her amazing scientists in training, who call themselves the Nerd Crew) with you.

You can learn more about the MicroGlobalScope program here.

June 22nd, 2011

“Can I resurrect my puppy?” and other DNA Microscopy questions from Thailand

 

Russell Durrett with MicroGlobalScope grantees of Ms. Gwenn Pettitt's 4th Grade Biology class in Bangkok, Thailand

MicroGlobalScope science advisor Russell Durrett Reports from his recent trip to Bangkok, Thailand.

What can we do with DNA? Can I resurrect my puppy? Can you mix some zebra cells with eagle DNA so it can fly? These are some of the questions MicroGlobalScope science advisor Russell Durrett fielded on his recent trip to Thailand to meet with MicroGlobalScope grantees.

In what he described as “an awesomely good time,” Russell visited the classroom of MicroGlobalScope grantee Ms. Gwenn Pettitt at the International Community School in Bangkok, Thailand. Russell is a Synthetic Biologist and Co-Founder of GenSpace NYC , a non-profit community biology lab located in Brooklyn, NY, that provides professional biology laboratory space for individuals to conduct molecular biology research cheaply and safely.

Russell spent a few days speaking with Ms. Pettitt’s elementary class, the high school AP biology classes and some kids interested in genetic engineering as well biology and microscopy.

“I started coordinating with Ms. Pettitt early in January. She started talking to the other teachers in the school and I ended up speaking to the 4th graders in the morning, the 9th grade biology class at noon, the upper-class high school biology classes that afternoon and then the 4th grade after school program where we did the microscopy and fruit extraction experiments.

 

Students prepare their fruit extraction materials.

“The really cool thing I noticed was that the high schoolers were asking the same questions as the 4th graders. ‘What can we do with DNA?’ ‘Can I resurrect my puppy?’ ‘Can you mix some zebra cells with eagle DNA so it can fly?’ ‘Why are people making things that glow so often, and how does that work?’ All the students knew that certain traits were due to certain genes being present, but not really how DNA translated into a phenotype.

“One of the students, was curious about the difference between Asian people and Caucasian people and if I could tell if I compared her and my DNAs.”

During the DNA extraction, the most common question was what you can do after you extract it.

Q: ‘Can you tell the difference between the watermelon and the dragon fruit’?

A: ‘If I cut them with the same pair of DNA scissors, then I can compare the chunks with those I know come from watermelon and dragon fruit’

 

Materials for the microscopy challenge await the microscope.

“The microscopy challenge was to image crystals,” Russell said. “They did a pretty good job. We had brown sugar, sugar, instant coffee, instant green tea (both vacuum dehydrated, so they had ok crystals) and possibly some other stuff. Bangkok is built on a marshland, so they typically find some cool bugs around their school and image them. In all, they’re doing a great job and the kids are asking a lot of great questions. I’m looking forward to seeing this program expand in the future.”

Thanks for the update, Russell, and thanks to our intrepid MicroGlobalScope grantees for their passion for science!

MicroGlobalScope students show their serious side.