Executive Director of Communications
QUEENS COLLEGE HOSTS FIFTH ANNUAL 9th and 10th GRADE SCIENCE FAIR
FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS ON MAY 12
— Con Edison of New York is a Principal Sponsor of Hands-on Event
To Encourage Science Careers—
FLUSHING, NEW YORK, May 5, 2005—“In an environment in which key science foundations—evolution and the origins of the earth and universe—are being questioned by pseudo-science, it is vital that all students clearly understand authentic science and its processes,” says physics professor Mark G. Miksic, director of the Science Teacher Careers (STC) Program at Queens College. STC, sponsored by Queens College’s Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences in collaboration with its Division of Education, recruits candidates for science teaching, an area of critical shortage in New York City schools.
The program is holding its fifth annual Investigative Science Symposium/Fair (ISS/Fair) on Thursday, May 12, exhibiting and celebrating investigative projects by the borough’s 9th and 10th graders. This year students conducted research on such topics as acid rain, plant transpiration, and the effect of temperature and antibiotics on bacteria growth. The projects will be displayed in the lobby of the Science Building from 11 am to 12:15 pm. Over 100 students and 30 teachers from 15 high schools are expected to attend.
The fair begins with welcoming remarks at 9 am by Queens College President James L. Muyskens and other guests in room 230 (lower level) of Rosenthal Library.
A collaboration of a committee composed of representatives from Queens College and Queens public high schools, the ISS/Fair begins when each participating high school holds an initial ISS/Fair. Up to five students from each school with projects judged to have “exceeded standards” participate in the Queens College event. On May 12 the finalists will submit a research report, display a summary of their work and, with their teachers and family members, tour the college research laboratories in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Experimental Psychology. They will also attend an awards luncheon.
“The fair is directly related to the needs of our students now involved in science inquiry and science research, and the new approach to hands-on discovery,” says Norman Cohn, assistant principal for science at Franklin K. Lane High School and co-organizer of the event. “It is tailored to 9th and 10th graders to level the playing field. We want to introduce them to research in an environment free from rivalry with 11th and 12th graders who have already taken part in science competitions.”
All students participating will receive a Certificate of Excellence for their research. Students whose work is judged outstanding will be given the opportunity to conduct research with Queens College-sponsored mentors or be awarded a place in the Queens College Summer Science Camp, an intensive, two-week science experience for high school students.
Projects are expected to utilize Science Inquiry (SI) methodology, which encourages students to investigate questions that require research, collaboration, and detailed recording of their procedures, data, and thoughts. This process, used by modern research scientists, is recommended by the New York State Department of Education as a powerful way for students to learn science.
“We want to get high school students involved in the sciences and using their critical thinking skills early,” says Miksic. “That will enable them to learn and understand science more deeply and help ensure that they acquire the analytical tools needed to approach problems of all kinds.” The goal is to spark an interest in science that may ultimately lead to a teaching career.
The Science Teacher Careers Program sponsoring this fair provides a comprehensive science education support system leading to students’ certification and ultimate employment as science teachers in New York City. One of the critical goals of STC is to help participants develop skills needed to incorporate science inquiry and critical thinking into the science curriculum.
“Many teachers have had little experience in investigative science, or science inquiry, as described in the National Science Education Standards,” says Miksic. Some STC participants are career changers from fields as diverse as nursing, advertising, meteorology, and nutrition. The program also encourages women and minority applicants who are traditionally underrepresented in science.
Cohn has seen first-hand the results of Miksic’s work. “Mark and other Queens College faculty, such as Allan Ludman, director of the GLOBE environmental science program, have been providing support in science to 3,200 students at Franklin Lane,” says Cohn. “Mark conducts staff development at the school for our science teachers and runs these fairs not for pay or reward, but because he sees the great benefits to young learners.”
For more information on the ISS/Fair or on the Science Teacher Careers Program, visit www.qc.cuny.edu/STC or call (718) 997-3379. For directions to Queens College, visit http://www.qc.cuny.edu/about/directions.php.
Queens College of the City University of New York (CUNY) is dedicated to the idea that a first-rate education should be accessible to talented individuals of all backgrounds and financial means. Founded in 1937, the college offers an exceptional liberal arts curriculum, with over 100 undergraduate and graduate programs and a variety of specialized honors programs. Located on a beautiful, 77-acre campus in Flushing, Queens College enjoys a national reputation for its liberal arts and sciences and pre-professional programs. In fact, it is the nation’s #8 “best value” college according to the 2006 edition of The Princeton Review America’s Best Value Colleges. Queens College’s nearly 17,000 students come from more than 140 nations and speak 66 languages, creating an extraordinarily diverse and welcoming environment.