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Alumni Newsletter: July '08 to July '09


The inter-disciplinary GK-12 NSF Grant fellows have been quite busy this year ensuring that local school children were involved with science at Brown. Activities varied from hosting lab tours so kids can see where scientists work, to fostering the importance of scientific communication by holding a Science Night where the students presented scientific posters. The year culminated with a scientific conference where scientists from Brown presented their research for the kids. And, of course, all the children came to the Geology department to watch Bill Collins host his famous exploding trash can demo.

Charles Vickers Jr. of Brown University's Institute for Molecular and Nanoscale Innovation shows 3rd-6th grade students how instruments in the Prince Laboratory work


In March of 2009, a Science Night was held at Vartan Gregorian Elementary School as a showcase for the students to demonstrate what they learned from their Brown GK-12 fellows. The kids created scientific posters and handouts and did demonstrations on kinetic energy, heat transfer, circuits, and volcanoes. Each of the 160 students displayed photos that they took with a handmade pinhole camera from the unit on light energy. This was a fun event with a large turn out and involved local community participation by Pow!Science! and Books on the Square.

In June, ten Brown University professors and graduate students participated in what for them seemed like a fairly normal activity – a scientific conference. For the students at Vartan Gregorian, however, the day was certainly out of the ordinary. The conference began with a keynote address by our department chair, Tim Herbert, regarding his recent field excursion to the Galapagos Islands and was followed by presentations in all of the 3rd-6th grade classrooms. The students rotated from room to room, visiting three scientific talks of their choosing. For Vartan Gregorian, this conference was the capstone of the Graduates in K-12 education 2008-2009 partnership with Brown University, made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation.