Nottingham Partnership with SU Allows for Hands-On Science Learning
Published on 4/25/17
District News Academics Nottingham High School
Nottingham Living Environment students studied stages of development, cell division, the impacts of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and more, all thanks to a partnership with Syracuse University that provided them with hands-on experiments involving zebrafish embryos.
Teachers Rebecca Wilk and Naomi Ali developed the unique curriculum while studying zebrafish at Syracuse University through a National Science Foundation grant. There, they learned about how zebrafish are being used in cutting edge scientific research – and they wrote several labs that would allow them to bring the specimens back to Nottingham for their students to work with.
Students experimented with adding various amounts of ethanol to the embryos. They observed them to see the impact of the alcohol and found that the greater the alcohol treatment, the greater buildup of fluid in the zebrafish heart. As a follow up, students learned about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and its impact on human embryos, based on the experiments they conducted on the zebrafish.
“We had to look at the zebrafish eggs under a microscope to see how they moved and reacted,” freshman Keyasiah Williams said. “It was hands-on and interactive and it was fun to see the embryos moving!”
“We were testing different amounts of alcohol in the embryos to see the impact of alcohol on babies when they’re born. It was hands-on and we were actually able to touch them – that helped make it easier for us to learn.”
Ms. Wilk said the experience also helped pique students’ interests in science and helped them see working in a science field as a tangible thing.
“It also allowed them to use some tools that students are usually only able to use in college, like micropipettes,” she explained. “It really brought learning to life for them. It was awesome to see them take ownership of the embryos! They couldn’t wait to come in each day and see how they’re grown.”
Thank you to Ms. Wilk, Ms. Ali and the Syracuse University Department of Biology for this creative partnership!