Massachusetts Association 
of Science Teachers

Student After-school Hands-on Science Enrichment Activities

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 8:46 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

My name is Michael Hirsch and I am the lab science manager at the Acera School, a K-8 progressive school in Winchester. I teach science through hands on lab projects and activities and will be offering some great after-school lab programs for all elementary and middle school students. There is a class for ages 10-14, which involves genetic engineering and working within the molecular biology realm, and one for 7-9 year olds, which is an interactive exploration of various basic concepts in biology and chemistry. The course descriptions are below.

Explorations of Genetic Engineering (or Biohacking) (Ages 10-14)

Location: Acera School, 5 Lowell Ave, Winchester, MA

Winter Trimester: November 28, 2017 – March 9, 2018

Spring Trimester: March 12, 2018 – June 8, 2018

One of the most exciting and innovative fields in the biotechnology realm is genetic engineering. Using microrganisms, scientists have the ability to edit the genomes of living creatures to add or remove features from their DNA. In this course, students will explore many of the skills that molecular biologists use every day to genetically manipulative non-pathogenic organisms like C. elegans and E coli, including restriction enzymes, transformations, ligations, DNA purification, RNA interference, agarose gel electrophoresis, and the CRISPR. For anyone who has wanted to know what its like to be a biologist on the forefront on biotechnology, this is the class to take. Pre-requisite for taking this course include basic knowledge about DNA and cells or a willingness to learn it.  


Science Explorations (7-9)

Location: Acera School, 5 Lowell Ave, Winchester, MA

Winter Trimester: November 28, 2017 – March 9, 2018

Spring Trimester: March 12, 2018 – June 8, 2018

This class is perfect for any young mind who wants to know more about biology and chemistry. Through hands-on activities and experiments, students will be introduced to how a scientist works in a laboratory, from planning your experiment to running it to observing and interpreting your results. Our approach for this class is to get young minds excited about science, and allow them to explore concepts within biology and chemistry in hands-on and age appropriate ways. Parents should know that at this age, students may not necessarily be able to recite specific scientific concepts in detail; but they will begin their scientific literacy, and gain an intuitive understanding of the science they tackled, which will include aspects of acid/base chemistry, chemical reactions, crystals, polymer chemistry, microbiology, and ecology. There is no prior knowledge of science needed, just a passion for the subject matter. Students need to be able to comfortably fit at the lab table as well as fit into extra small gloves and be able to hold glass objects.


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