Science Reporters Get Hands-On Experience
As a part of Tincan's Science Journalism Pathways project, middle school girls take controversial, local, science news issues, dissect them, and spend a year after school learning about both sides of the issue as they create a film reporting on what they learned. ,As part of the project, Tincan's Science Education Coordinator, Michelle Grove, spends time with each club implementing hands-on science activities to help students grasp the vocabulary and concepts in their stories in a more meaningful way.
"It was hard to imagine [the DNA modification] when it was just an idea. It's too small to see! Now I get it," said one Bowdish Middle School student last week. The club had just performed a simulation of genetic engineering to learn more about their topic: genetically modified foods. In support of their topic, Bowdish also carried out a DNA fingerprinting lab. Sacajawea Middle School did the same lab, but with a means to a different end: to learn about the process of the gel electrophoresis and DNA fingerprinting needed in the development of vaccines. Sacajawea's topic: the local whooping cough outbreak and the controversy surrounding vaccination.
Medical Lake Middle School Science Reporters took their simulation to a much larger scale, involving their entire 6th grade. Their topic-dam removal and salmon mitigation-lead them to run through a Project WILD simulation of the salmon's life cycle, including all the dangers of trying to navigate a river system. Students were bears, fishermen, young salmon, etc.-and they used the simulation to demonstrate the complexity of the issue to their peers.
With a less biology-related topic, Lakeside Middle School chose to investigate fracking this year. To learn the vocabulary they needed to be able to understand and describe the process, they performed a hands-on experiment in solubility and will be adding to their hands-on experiences with a field trip to Mobius Science Center. While Lakeside explores Spokane's local science center, the other four groups will be traveling to Washington State University again this year to experience a variety of hands-on science, and find more out about STEM careers.