Posts tagged ‘microscopy’

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.

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.

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.