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Bronxville School Board Hears New Science Inititiatives

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BRONXVILLE, N.Y. -- Bronxville High School Principal Ann Meyer introduced two science teachers who described their experiences designing and carrying out original research at the May Board of Education meeting.

The presentations emphasized the importance of exploring questions in depth, rather than broad coverage of many topics, or replicating standard labs.

Biology teacher Justine McClellan conducted cancer research projects with a few students, working in tandem with labs in New York City. Students displayed their work at Sarah Lawrence College and expressed their pride in the quality of what they have learned.

In order to reach more students, McClellan has developed a Bronx River project, in which students gather real data from the river, share it with other schools and colleges, and analyze results. The river's proximity and the availability of high-quality data-gathering instruments make the work accessible to a larger number of students.

Physics teacher Jonathan Peter developed an advanced course that, in contrast with the advanced placement syllabus, focuses on fewer topics and engineering applications, such as building and launching rockets. In that project students figured out how to capture data and measure velocity, acceleration and force.

At the meeting, students described other projects that involved analyzing electrical circuits and designing catapults. Members of the Board of Education praised the work and asked a wide range of questions about connections with other institutions and patterns of student participation. They expressed strong support for the teachers' continued work in this area.

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