Summer Program Spotlight on Science Exploration and Astronomy

This week our spotlight series is on two of our science programs, Science Exploration and Astronomy, which are created and taught by BASIS Independent Brooklyn all-stars Dr. Angela Hahn and Mr. Joshua Winter respectively. Science Exploration is a half-day all hands on laboratory program in which students will conduct a variety of science experiments in the disciplines of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Astronomy is a full day program that will give students the opportunity to learn about the foundation of our planet and the solar system through classroom instruction, field trips and a nighttime viewing of the stars on the last day of the program.

I recently sat down with Dr. Hahn and Mr. Winter to learn more about their programs and hear why they are excited to be part of the inaugural BASIS Independent Summer Program in Brooklyn. 

Matthew Beller: Why did you decide to teach your respective courses this summer?

Angela Hahn: I love the idea of being able to teach students using laboratory experiments to showcase IMG_0019.jpga range of scientific disciplines that I do not get the chance to cover during the regular school year. I have also previously led summer science programs at Stanford University and am really looking forward to doing so at BASIS Independent this summer.

Joshua Winter: Astronomy is one of my favorite subjects and I do not get a chance to teach many of its concepts during the school year. I am really excited to use the summer program to teach about the history of Astronomy, correct some common misconceptions and to show how current events are connected to Astronomy such as the recent discovery of gravitational waves.

MB: Why should a student sign up for your programs?

AH: Science Exploration will give students the chance to conduct fun and hands-on lab experiments and cover topics that we don’t get to explore during the regular school year. Students also get a chance to work in groups and with kids in different grade levels who they normally don’t take classes with.

JW: Taking my course will give kids the chance to look at the sky and be able to appreciate its beauty and just how vast the solar system is. My goal is for all my students to love Astronomy by the end of the program.

MB: Can you give us some examples of activities or lessons you have planned?

AH: My students will get to make their own ice cream by using liquid nitrogen, and build their own hot air balloons, bridges and structures. I am also really excited about showing my students how to grow plants in the classroom!

JW: In my class students are going to get the opportunity to explore and understand the solar system. On the first day I will take students to the Hayden Planetarium so they can get a sense of how our solar system works. The rest of week the kids will build models of the solar system and learn how to calculate the distance between planets and the sun. We will use the field across the street from the school to set up our model solar system with the sun and the planets. The size of the field is a great way to show the true size of the solar system. For example if we make a model of the sun the size of a basketball and place it in the field, then a scale model of Pluto would be the distance to the Freedom Tower. On the last day, students will get to view the stars and planets at night using my own telescope.

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