Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Update now that I'm back to school....

Well, I'm back into the nitty gritty of school, correcting labs and tests, meeting with parents, helping students so the question is, how has my RET experience impacted my teaching?

I have not had time to do my lesson that was created this summer as we are not at that point in the curriculum. However, I do find that I talk about my experience quite a bit in the classroom as I'm teaching. I also put my you tube address on the board and suggested that they check out what I did this summer.... I have 97 Hits!. My students will come into the room and tell me that they checked out the video -- I then ask them if they understood it, and the reply is always no. I guess that I will have to make another one where the students have more models of what the Raman Microscope does and an example of what has been done with Ranjith's research to help the students understand it better.

I also have implemented science notebooks in a different way than I have in the past. I'm still not there yet - in other words, it's not where I would like my students to use them but we are getting started. Students did not reflect after they did a lab or an assignment before this, now I am requiring that they do after each unit, I think that, to some of them at least, this reflection is making science more meaningful to them.

My next step is the blog -- I will introduce that next , then the lesson. I hope that if I bring up this experience throughout the year, students will understand that things that are learned are built upon and used in many different ways.-- Also, with me getting turning 50 this year, maybe they will see that you are never too old to learn new things.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thursday July 28 -- trying to get things done

Sorry, it seems that I have been a little remiss on giving information on the blog --

We have had a fun and yet busy week.

We are all trying to get things finished for our presentation next week.

It feels like a bigger deal than what I had originally anticipated.

I thought that we were going to present our labs to each other but I guess that is not the case-- invitations are going out to our superintendents, co workers, principals and such. Now I'm a little nervous....

So, I have been furiously working on my powerpoint in my spare time -- in between labs, when I get here, when I get home etc.

We checked out our digital microscopes using the defractions that we made along with some neat slides that showed the light defractions in the afternoon, we checked out the electron microscope-- we looked at a fly close up --- no REALLY,REALLY close up --

The photos follow... the first one is of a fly's head --

This is a little closer -- next we're going to stem in on the dots.
Or Eye area.....

look at the eye area-- that's what we have focused on.

Notice that each of these "dots" have boatloads of other dots- now we'll look at one of them close up. Remember, this is the eye of a fly- think about how small this is!

This is a picture from the electron microscope - these dots are on one of the dots of the eye of a fly. I can't believe the detail! I know, "Calm Down Mrs. Neagle" - it's just that I am truly in awe when I think about what we can do and see now with our current technology.

Anyway, some other neat news -- I got my own digital microscope to bring back into the classroom and have a lesson planned out for it. Another neat thing-- you'll have to check out my "BU Photonics Center" Lab coat-- I will be wearing it in school.
TTFN ..... Mrs. N

Monday, July 26, 2010

Monday afternoon- week 5

So we have gone to Ted Morse' lab so that John could video tape the experiment for his poster/presentation. Bob started a new run - but we got there and the solution was cloudy - he stirred it with a magnetic stirrer and added acetate to it to dilute it - when he started to run it, there were several flashbacks and he had to scrub this test run - However, before ending the session, John WAS able to get a video of the lab as well as the run -- posted on you tube and on his blog - wildcat physics-- It came out pretty well .... Check it out.

I finally was able to upload my video on you tube and have also copied onto this blog - check out Ranjithe's Lab with the Raman Microscope.

While John was working on that lab, I ran down to Ranjith's lab -he was not there . I want to get the results and compare them on my computer - so that I can work on my presentation. I need to make sure that I have analyzed the data so that I can come up with some conclusions or redesign.... (note steps of the Scientific Method).

Hopefully, I will have the powerpoint presentation posted to the blog this week so that you can get a better understanding of the lab that I've been working in.

video from you tube on raman microscope lab

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Middle of week 4 - Crunch Time

It's crunch time and I'm feeling a bit anxious......

This week, we were asked to create our lesson plan,(check) add to the blog (doing it now) and create a video that we will put on you tube and later on a link to my website ( which I haven't made yet)

We attended a meeting on Monday that took the whole day - it was pretty interesting on Problem Based Learning (or PBL for short) -- It links local businesses with schools to help solve problems that they are having with something that they are manufacturing or plan to manufacture. The students are to brainstorm and try and solve the problem. It was fun but all of us felt that our time could have been better served working in the lab or working on the products that WE need to produce in only 2 1/2 weeks!

Tuesday we had another meeting but then I spent my afternoon creating my lesson plan - I am very excited about trying it out - yes, you current eighth graders are my guinea pigs for trying it out but I think you'll like it :) .... anyway, Mr.P and I then went with Prof. Morse on a presentation fo fiber optic history -- very interesting stuff - especially thinking about the fact that fiber optics were make in 1913 but really not utilized for another 60 years -- now, almost 100 years later-- look at how much we use them! In TV's. Cell Phones, Ipods, Xrays, etc. Pretty awesome stuff!

Today we went to 2 labs -- pictures will follow. My lesson is on identifying White powders using different equipment or different tests and determine what the Mystery white powder acts like.

We looked at several white powdery substances under the electron microscope - can you tell what they are?

Asprin, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Cornstarch, Powdered Sugar (not necessarily in that order)

All White powders and yet .... They look so different up close!

The other lab was my lab with the Raman Spectroscopy Microscope. I used the portable one today. I got all the data that I needed with it. I will be needing to get the actual fingerprints so that I can show them in school. My students will have to figure out which is which, just like the above pics.

I spoke with Ranjithe about videotaping him tomorrow -- hopefully, it will go well and I can post it by Friday. He said that we can do that tomorrow afternoon.

All in All, it has been a good week, busy but productive. I feel much better having a plan for my poster and having my lesson plan done.. TTFN (Ta Ta for Now)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Week 3 -- good days/ bad days


Using discs -, we put a film on the disc and put it in the centrifuge to spread it out evenly.

We then put it on a hot plate so that we could dry it on.

We put this disc into a machine which etched out the design.

After we did that, we put it on the hot plate again.

We then removed the film from the spots that were etched out.

We checked the disc through the microscope and checked out the design on the film,

Then cleaned our mess.

On Monday we were to meet early in the am with Helen Fawcett so that we could be introduced to our new lab. We got there on time but she was not there.

There was an emergency in one of the labs in the morning when we first were going to meet up with her but then she did come and find us so that we could learn and meet our new lab professor.

We met Ranjith Premasiri in the lab where he has a Raman Spectroscopy Microscope. He talked to us about what he is doing; essentially the machine takes a "fingerprint" of the substance - every material has its own unique fingerprint (like us -- the fingerprint is close but never the same) - they are producing a library of "fingerprints" of bacteria so that when someone goes to the doctor's office instead of the doctor saying try this - it looks like this virus etc- the doctor will be able to put this information in the Portable Raman Spectroscopy and give the correct medication or antibiotic right away .... Now I had to figure out how to make that work in my classroom. but that would have to wait until Wednesday afternoon as there were meetings to attend to....

Tuesday was pretty cool - we worked in the clean room again. We made our own plates which I took some pictures of. We will be working in the lab again next week. It was very fun - although it gets a little hot after a while with double gloves, double boots and such....

Then Wednesday came -- frustration again - what do you mean that we have to make a poster on our experiment and present it to our colleagues? We don't really have an experiment yet and don't have a lesson plan etc etc etc -- So after discussing my dilemna with the other RET teachers, I wrote up a proposal and spoke to "Randy" about it. I thought that seeing that I do a Physical / Chemical changes lab with white powdery substances where the students have to identify the mystery substance, I could incorporate the fingerprint of the same white powdery substances to show that they each have their own unique fingerprint - even though they LOOK similar -- He was okay with that so we did the lab on Thursday.

Thursday - lab day .... We brought all kinds of white powders to work with - Aspirin vs Tylenol, Cornstarch, Baking Soda, Baking Powder and Powdered Sugar. We took 10-12 prints of each and created a data base -- then we checked on another program to show how the fingerprints were grouped together -- (all the fingerprints of the baking soda went with the other baking soda prints) -- it was pretty cool. All and All it was a very good day- we then looked at the bacteria through the raman so Randy could show us his project-- I think that it will be so beneficial - next week we are going to do the same tests but on the other smaller- portable machine to make sure that there are the same results.

Friday - Differentiated Instruction and then what's next -- The class on differentiated instruction was very helpful but I think it will be difficult to implement alot of it with so many kids in a class. Next week - we are to create a lesson plan and a video posted on You Tube about our experience here.

Mr. P, whom I work with said that it will not be difficult. I'm not sure what to do the video about. I will need more information.
Assignments this week, continue with blog, make a 5-10 minute video and up load it on You tube and begin lesson plan.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Middle of Week three and feeling a bit stressed.

It's Wednesday and this morning we went to a meeting to find out more about how to set up our poster for presentation on the last week. I was looking forward to answers on some questions that I had but after attending, I feel a bit more confused on the expectations and am still not clear about what I'm doing. I think that I will have a better understanding once I get going with my experiment in my lab and start taking down data (there's always a learning curve and for me, I need some think time before acting upon anything new-- I'll keep that in mind with my students)

We have to present our posters to 2 different groups - once to the group at BU and then to the group at NEU . I was under the impression that we were creating a poster that can be used in the classroom that brings in the experience that we had this summer -- and for me - the different experiences in 4 different labs. I asked about this because the examples of posters that were shown were so dense with information, that I did not think that this would help my classroom and their understanding of what we did this summer. I was told that the poster should be geared towards my colleagues- not my students and be at the quality where we would present this information to the NSTA. I think that I am going to make my poster with some understanding of what is being done in the lab but in a more simplified version so that my students can see what is being done in the "real world". A mix of the 2 worlds....

Anyway, this week, we were introduced to our new lab and it looks pretty neat. We have a little guidance with the equipment but at the same time, we can use and experiment on different substances. I am thinking about the standards and where this information will fit and I keep thinking about the properties of matter unit and how some substances react to others. This will lend itself to a poster too. Different white powders, able to identify them on the machine and understand which reactant to produce a chemical change to the substance. I am looking forward to starting my tests on it -- We are planning on being in the lab All day tomorrow -- no meetings to attend to so that will be alot of fun.

Friday, July 9, 2010

New Lab -- New Day

My Lab Partner and I have been reassigned to a new lab.....

Yesterday morning, we had a meeting with one of the liasons from the RET project to discuss how we were progressing in our lab....
Well, the person that we were working with was on vacation and we were asked to devise a system to feed the solution evenly to the nebulizer but not sure what to do from there - waiting for an answer as to whether we could purchase the part and start to build and test our prototype. We were then met by Leah, the lab liason and she said that there was a project originally planned for us but it was outsourced to a co in Tennessee - so we were there to observe and help as needed - but no longer a set plan.
We went to lunch, came back and Leah introduced us to another gentleman and his lab on looking at the waves of different types of light -- he showed us how the machine worked and then left. Mr. P. and I played for a while - testing out my flashlight, the flash on a camera and such and then got bored and went back to our office - again with no direct plan.

We were met again by Helen - the RET project liason and she said that we will be going to a different lab that really could use our help-- YEA!!! We will be testing out a new machine and comparing the results with a much larger machine and giving them feedback on the new equipment. We will be testing the light waves of ecoli -- this is a really good test because they have been able to see that different strains have different light (color) - which coincides with properties of matter. It will be helpful in the doctor's office because instead of him saying,"Try this medicine"- he will know immediately what will kill that bacteria and give you the right stuff.

Hopefully, we will stay in this lab for the rest of the time so that I can post on the progress.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Clean room Activity - check out the get up -- Before going into the first room , we had to put our shoes onto this contraption that vacuummed the dirt and loose sand off-- then went into the first semi-clean room where we donned a lovely hairnet, booties, the suit, goggles and gloves. We then were okay'd to go into the next room where we put on this attractive headpiece and boots that covered any open area, snapped at our shins and fastened on our feet. We didnn't need to do this but if we were speaking -needed to put on the face mask.

We will be going in here for another three times to make refracted glass.

We were shown the process yesterday and will be making our own.

Essentially, it looks clear but when youput it under the microscope, you can

see the refracted images. (there were dots on the slide yesterday)

I will explain in detail the process when we go through it next week.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Photos with descriptions from last week's lab

1. This photo shows the set up of the lab. There is a glass tube where the silicon will be deposited and it's sprayed on into the flame by the device in the middle with the knobs. The devise with the knobs moves to the right and left as the glass tube turns to ensure an even flow of the material

2. Notice the glass bottle on the hotplate on the floor - this is the silica solution that is getting pumped up and through the valves in a liquid form. When the fire is ignited - the solution changes its phase to a gas -- and gets deposited evenly on the glass tube.

3.This is the beginning stages of the experiment or test-- The silicon is mixed with oxygen which causes it to burn and deposit the soot onto the glass tubing. Another note -- notice the dark line in the center of the flame ; it was important to make sure that this was there but not too high up onto the tube. I think that this is a cold spot and you want to ensure that the hottest part is at the tube.

4.This is just a close up of the picture above to check out the flame

5. The silicon mixture was not turning into a gas fast enough so it was making air bubbles onto the surface of the glass tube. This would lead to an uneven surface and flaws in the glass later so the option was to make it hotter. Acetone was added to the mixture which caused the gas to be hotter and therefore changed phase faster. ( it also made the flame brighter -- check it out

6. Another image of the bright flame-- look at the tube - see how the silicon is depositing onto it?

7. This is the cooling stage -- temperatures are near or above 1000 degrees celsius while the experiment is going on so we have to wait for it to cool before it can be separated from the glass tubing.

8. The tube has cooled and it's measured before it gets separated.

9. It gets separated by slowly adding water around the tubing. when it is completely filled up, the tube is taken out of the water bath and the silicon slips right off.

10.It's now separated from the glass tubing and is weighed before sending it out to be shipped.

This silicon tube is now in NJ and will be super heated to that it can make pure silicon glass. This is the beginning of a fiber optic tube.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

In the Beginning....

In May, just like you, I was looking forward to some leisurely time off at the end of June, reading a few good books and possibly working on a tan -- but that isn't happening. Instead, I am taking a course at Boston Univerity called Research Experience for Teachers or RET for short.
This is a 6 week course where teachers have the opportunity to work in the field and learn about how Science is being used in the real world.
This course is on Biophotonics ( Bio -- what?!...) - Essentially it's looking at life science (biology), general science ( scientific method) and engineering to enhance things like X Ray machines, find Skin Cancer with Lasers or Identify diseases with light.
I thought that this would be truly exciting so I signed up and got in!
We were partnered with a lab team and another teacher (the other teacher is a pretty cool guy - Mr. P- that teaches Physics and Astronomy in Weymouth). My lab is on "Scintillation measurements for high resolution X-Ray project lab"- the Lab Professor is Ted Morse.
I was given two assignements for the first week -- 1. learn as much as you can about Fiber Optics and 2. learn as much as you can about Total Internal Reflection or TIR for short.
I have to say that there is a big learning curve and I have a lot of catching up on reading and understanding of these two topics -- I guess my summer reading isn't as light as I thought it would be.... More to come, me and my lab partner's project this week is to devise a way for the Silicon solution to spray evenly onto the glass tube... I'll explain with pictures in my next blog.