Past

Past STEM Endeavors

Science

  • Students had the opportunity to conduct advanced research through the AIRS program. Maxwell Solman (Class of 2018) explored how color affects performance on math tests while Sydney Garson (Class of 2014) studied the relationship between optical lenses and image projection. Cary Dannenberg (Class of 2016) used 3D printing and design to build simple machines while Scott Mandelbaum (Class of 2016) created, printed, and programmed a prosthetic hand to help amputees. Other projects included the design and engineering of a metal model of the solar system, or orrery (Grades 10-12).
  • American Museum of Natural History field trips and digital resources have been used to supplement science curriculums (Grades k-8).
  • The website for Middle and Upper School science, www.bwlstem.org, was expanded and Middle School students had the opportunity to publish articles on the site. Furthermore, as part of the WIS program, prominent women in scientific fields were featured online. Additionally, AIRS participants had the opportunity to display their independent projects on the website (Grades 6-12).
  • The Lower School Science Department launched a website, https://sites.google.com/a/gbwl.org/lsscience/ where k-5 science highlights were posted weekly. In addition, the Lower School hosted its 3nd annual science fair, which saw unprecedented participation in grades 4-5. The 2015 winner (Clara Kreutziger, Class of 2022)  demonstrated the growth curve of bacteria at different temperatures.
  • Lower, Middle and Upper School students completed an extraordinary number of lab experiments and field trips, averaging 20 investigations per class, including long term investigations into earth’s features, sustainability, water use at school, and  environmental conditions necessary for life (Grades k-12).
  • 6th graders in Earth Science take a virtual tour of the Stony Brook University fossil museum and consulted with paleontologists on the Mesozoic Era.
  • Students AP Biology participate in video conferences with renowned cancer researcher Richard Steinman from the University of Pittsburgh Hillman Cancer Center (Grade 12)
  • 3rd grade students were exposed to basic circuitry and programming using LittleBits Modules and 5th grade students were introduced to a weekly extended lab period for longer term experimentation.
  • Lower School students used claymation and iMotion, and timelapse apps to study plant life cycles (Grades k-5).
  • Students have participated in mock trials, debates, and engineering challenges to understand the relationship between scientific inquiry and ethics (Grades 6-8).
  • The Science Olympiad, so successful last year, was adapted for all divisions: Lower School, Middle School, and Upper School (Grades k-12).
  • High school students have designed practical websites to chronicle their understanding of infectious and inherited diseases.
  • In the Lower and Middle schools, students have completed design and engineering challenges throughout the year. Projects included roller coaster design, alternative resource inventions, and Rube Goldberg machines. In the Middle School, this culminated in our first ever “Design Fair,” a showcase of student inventions made over the course of a trimester. 6th grader Max Freeman submitted his design, MiButler, to the Apple App Store. (Grades k-8).

 

Technology  

  • The BWL radio station, WBWL, finished its second broadcasting year and featured live broadcasts in the mornings, updating students on community news and events (Grades k-12). This year, the show featured interviews of teachers and outside professionals.
  • The Middle School activity “BWL News” published a record number of interviews and exposed students to the technological minutiae present in journalism (Grades 6-8).
  • The Computer Science labs were refurbished with new technology and floating desks to allow students a collaborative class setting (Grades 6-8).
  • A monitor was installed outside the Middle School office displaying community news, awards, and test schedules for students (Grades 6-8).
  • 6th graders completed a game design module as an introduction to programming and 8th grade students learned basic html for web design, in addition to developing mobile apps and designing their own inventions. Students from 3rd grade and up are now exposed to computer programming.
  • BWL’s library has been completely remodeled to house an army of computer resources. As the main source of information, students can visit the library for all their research needs. In addition, the emphasis of online library materials allows students a reach of inquiry beyond the walls of the school (Grades k-12).
  • The Technology Department has added a new faculty member to staff the IT hub in the library and link students to the network (Grades k-12).
  • The LS Computer lab has been remodeled for collaborative learning (Grades k-5).
  • A monitor was installed in the Upper School student lounge that will display community news and events (Grades 9-12).
  • Over 100 middle school students have created their own websites. The websites are now being hosted by the domain bwlss.org/(student’s name) (Grades 6-8)
  • The Tech Department has partnered with EverFi and the New York Rangers for the Education Initiative “Future Goals.” The program teaches STEM concepts through the game of hockey (Grades 6-8).
  • Upper School “TAs” assist in the Middle School Computer Science classes (Grades 6-12)
  • Middle School students have designed their own tours, rooms, buildings, and even inventions to present to a mock “Shark Tank” composed of Upper School students (Grades 6-12).
  • “Netiquette” is now taught in each class, supplemented with “Digital Compass” lessons from Common Sense Media (Grades 6-8)
  • Hour of Code was brought to BWL, and Code.org lessons are now used regularly in the classroom (Grades k-8)
  • Students are learning html, CSS, and Javascript though Dash (Grades 6-8)
  • Chromebooks and laptops have been made available for students to use in the classroom (Grades k-12).
  • A flagship project inspired by StoryCorps invited 8th graders to produce radio diaries, interviewing, editing, and publishing their work (Grade 8).
  • Students took part in playtesting of educational games for game design companies (Grades 9-12).

 

Engineering

 

 

  • Middle schools have enrolled in a robotics elective to program LEGO Mindstorms robots. On the overseas trip to Spain, students immersed themselves in Robotics programming to model a sustainable city (Grades 6-12). Because of it’s success, the Robotics program was be expanded to all divisions (Grades k-12)

 

  • Students have participated in a Design Fair, sponsored in part by the AMNH and Evolution Store where they explored the design process through experimentation and prototyping (Grades 6-8).
  • Sparki robots have been introduced in CompSci 1 to enhance basic robotics programming (Grades 9-12).
  • BWL has launched a new digital music course for students to design their own compositions with the help of a computer and MIDI technology (Grades 6-8).
  • A Middle School Computer Club was spearheaded by to teach students in grades 6-8 intermediate programming, web design, and game design.

 

Math

 

  • Teachers utilized physics simulators to help students derive equations (Grade 8).
  • Middle School Math offers “Problem of the Week,” a program run through the Math Forum of Drexel University. Each year, several students’ responses are selected for national recognition (Grades 6-8).
  • 6th grade students were assigned projects over winter break that incorporate STEM into the curriculum. They designed the layout for a zoo and in the coming year will collaborate with the Computer Science department to construct the zoo habitats online.
  • Students participated in a school-wide pi-day celebration (Grades 6-12).
  • Students are completing projects on scaling and vectors using graphic design and comic books (Grade 7).
  • The Math department has partnered with the Computer Science department to model equations, functions, and logic online with three-dimensional printing.  (Grades 6-12).
  • AP students have completed experiments to model statistics in the real world (Grade 12).
  • Finite math students engaged with stock market reports to learn about applications of business math (Grade 12). Students also work with the Computer Science department to explore the algorithms that companies use for computer trading (Grades 9, 11).
  • The Math Department hosts an engineer each year for a program called “Engineers Teaching Algebra.” This year, students learned to optimize road traffic  (Grade 8).
  • Students in Algebra completed an interdisciplinary project where they read the book “Secrets, Lies, and Algebra,” and completed lessons on concepts presented in the novel (Grades 8-9).

 

Cross-Discipline

 

  • Students make use of our MakerBot 3D printer in various classes. 7th grade math students designed and printed geometric shapes to model the relationship between area and volume and 7th grade Life Science students printed DNA, cell, and other microbiology models.
  • In Computer Science, 7th graders generated sustainable living spaces in CAD. Science Roundtable students in Middle School created their own organisms from t extruded plastic. Upper Schoolers made use of the 3D printer in Java class and for the Science Olympiad. Middle Schoolers also used the technology for their design fair projects.
  • The Lower School continued “Recyclemania,” an environmental initiative to promote mindfulness about students’ environmental impact (Grades k-5) while Middle School and Upper School students recycled over 300 pounds of batteries for sustainable use. This past year, several classes enrolled in a competition for BWL’s “Greener Green Initiative.” Led by the Lower School Science Department, students petitioned for more recycling bins in the neighborhood, built toys from recycled materials, repurposed old bottles and cans into instruments, and worked with maintenance staff for service learning projects.
  • Teachers make student progress reports available online through Haiku (Grades 6-12), allowing for more sharing and collaboration between students and faculty.
  • Imogen Ma (Class of 2014) created a lab manual for science students. Her illustrated guide explains safety procedures in a visual, artistic manner to capture students’ interest.
  • Teachers from the science and technology departments, as well as the STEM coordinators, went to conferences to meet with STEM practitioners from other schools and to plan how to best implement the STEM Initiative at BWL (Grades k-12).
  • BWL implemented a BYOD (Bring your own device) policy and made our network more robust in order to allow students a broader range of resources in the classroom and library (Grades 6-12).
  • Ben Dinardo was selected to attend a Master Class led by Nobel Prize-winning chemist Roald Hoffman, and to become a Fellow of The Academy for Teachers (Grades 9-12).
  • Interactive data collection has been implemented in the science department with the use of Vernier touch interfaces and a series of probes measuring variables from CO2 consumption to the force of a collision (Grades 7-12).
  • 6th grade Library class has incorporated “maker periods” into the curriculum where students can explore the design-thinking process. Maker materials, puzzles, and “brain games” are available in the library (Grades 6-12).
  • Students in all divisions attended the People’s Climate March, launched a website, continued a Lower School recycling initiative, participated in “Bash the Trash”, and highlighted environmental accomplishments on the LS Science website (Grades k-12)
  • Students used design techniques to create logos for Middle School Houses (Grades 6-8).
  • 5th grade students created radio shows based on their reading of “War of the Worlds.”
  • The Middle School participated in a recycling drive to gather materials for music class. The music department used collected materials to make instruments (Grades k-8).
  • During holiday concert rehearsals, Digital Music students supplemented their STEM learning through workshops and hands-on activities (Grades 6-7).
  • Students designed museum exhibits for history class using Google SketchUp (Grade 8).
  • Students from grades k-8 continued participating in International “Hour of Code,” joining nearly 100 million others to learn computer programming at an early age. With curriculums catered to each class, students learned how computer science can be applied to all of their studies.
  • BWL partnered with Columbia University for the “International Year of Crystallography.” 6th grade students grew crystals for a national competition and Lucie Batista placed 2nd nationally while August Plagemann placed 5th in the Quality category. In 2016, 6th graders took home some of the most prestigious prizes for the quality of their crystals, including 1st place for quality Cameron Kelly and 3rd place overall Mitchell Sozio.
  • Visiting Professor in Archeology, Dr. Douglas Bailey, led our annual “BWL Week of Archeology.” Students were introduced to the discipline with an assembly on Neogene archeology. Bailey conducted classes for k-12, focusing on the 5th, 8th, and 11th grades. In order to understand how the scientific study of artifacts informs how we understand the past, 5th graders conducted pottery and figurine workshops. 8th graders studied burials and completed a lab practical  on social status through examining grave sites. 11th graders performed a case study of Kennewick Man and Middle and Upper School Students participated in an archeological dig held on school grounds. All activities culminated with a lecture and fair to display students’ work (Grades k-12).
  • Project-based learning has been adapted to a wide range of  curriculum(Grades k-12).
  • Meghan Chew, Lower School STEM Coordinator, has worked in the Lower School to infuse STEM into the humanities fields (Grades k-5).
  • The BWL Environmental Initiative continued under the slogan “A Greener Green” (Grades k-12). It has already built momentum through both Middle School and Upper School Environmental Clubs, and in the Lower School under the leadership of the LS Science Department. A new recycling program has already been implemented; each classroom is equipped with waste bins for each type of waste.
  • The Green Thumbs club has been launched and students are nurturing plants in each classroom (Grades 6-8).
  • Students have participated in both an early morning exercise program and an accompanying landmark study. Working with the institution Academics West, BWL is studying the effects of long-term exercise on students’ academic and behavioral performance. This is one of the first experiments of its kind (Grades 6-12).
  • Students in 8th grade English created radio dramas in GarageBand based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Speckled Band.”
  • QR codes were created and developed for project based learning in the Library and Information Services Center (Grade 6).
  • The Computer Science and Science Departments have collaborated on GoogleEarth modules for the 6th grade.
  • High School English students researched bioethics and gene splicing while they studied the novel Frankenstein (Grade 10).
  • The BirchBots, BWL’s Robotics team, made an impressive showing at the 2015 FIRST Robotics Competition by winning the “Rookie All-Star” Award. BirchBots also participated in the Robotics International Competition, held in St. Louis, MI. In 2016, students placed highly in the Regional Competition and won 2nd place in the tristate “Monty Madness” Competition of 2016.. Speaking to the success of the program, BichBots students have been accepted into MIT, CalTech, and Johns Hopkins (Grades 9-12).
  • Google groups have been created for each of the STEM disciplines so that teachers can collaborate and share among departments (Grades 6-12).
  • In addition to the STEM website, students can engage with STEM online through a Twitter page and YouTube channel (Grades k-12).
  • As part of their Diversity unit, students studied census data, demographic distribution data, and other primary sources. 5th graders gained an understanding of the population diversity in New York City (Grade 5).
  • Students across grades k-12 are using elements of gamification in classrooms.
  • Students created podcasts to that culminated their  Electronic Music studies (Grades 6-7).
  • Students in the Lower School are integrating apps to make learning social studies and math an immersive experience (Grade 2).
  • 9th grade English students hosted an antiquities dealer to present artifacts that give context to their readings of “Odysseus” (Grade 9).
  • 5th grade teachers are introducing engineering challenges along with budgeting and economics into math classes, so  that students can relate math concepts to real-world applications.
  • The Technology and Library departments launched a collaborative website at http://www.bwl.org/library_information_services. This site provides training and disperses resources to both faculty and students (Grades k-12).
  • BWL has invited more speakers than ever for the BWL WIS Speaker series, expanded this year to all the  divisions and grades. Notable women include game designers, TED Talk attendees, digital musicians, crystallography chemists from Columbia University, and even members of the Bon Appetit Catering Service.
  • The Middle School hosted two weeks of STEM Camp. Students participated in multi-
    disciplinary studies that included cardboard boat races and museum visits (Grades 6-8).
  • On Curriculum Night, students took advantage of the app “Aurasma.” When parents entered the classroom, they took a picture of a hashtag and a video of their child came up on the screen of their mobile device.
  • Students used Minecraft to supplement their Social Studies unit on early colonies in New Amsterdam. In their virtual world, students explored how Native Americans and colonies interacted, engineering a historically accurate representation of the Dutch settlement.
  • Sophomore Emelly Carrasco was nominated for the Junior Academy, affiliated with the New York Hall of Sciences. In addition, she has been enrolled at a rigorous program at Columbia University, S-PREP, taking advanced science and math courses and participating in novel research.
  • Middle and High School students attended the TEDYouth Conference at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in mid-November. After attending, students are pursuing a TED Club at school where they screen and record educational videos on a range of topics.
  • Middle school students participated in the “Frontiers for Young Minds” and “Flame Challenge” programs, through Stony Brook University and the NSF (Grade 6).
  • The BWL Literary Magazine has been digitized and is made available via the BWL website.