'Science at Home' Activities for Students
June 16, 2020
Schools in New York are closed through this academic year and the upcoming summer school session because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Camps and programs that plan to open this summer are still working through the details. Meanwhile students, their parents, and teachers are figuring out ways for learning to continue.
Now students at home—or almost anywhere—can discover cutting-edge science at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory. And they can earn certificates, too.
Brookhaven Lab's "Science at Home" website offers challenges, lessons, and videos, inspired by the Laboratory's discovery science and transformative technology.
"With in-school education disrupted and field trips canceled, we created Science at Home to give students new opportunities to take part in science and connect with Brookhaven National Laboratory," said Ken White, Manager of the Lab's Office of Educational Programs.
Science at Home activities are organized in modules for students in elementary, middle, and high school. Topics include coding video games, collecting climate data for community science, magnets, and more.
Videos Highlighting Careers in STEM
Ken White, Manager of Brookhaven Lab's Educational Programs
Among the Science at Home activities, the site features an episode from the “Full STEM Ahead Long Island” video series and accompanying curriculum. "STEM" stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. The video describes basic concepts in structural biology and drug design. It introduces scientists and students at the National Synchrotron Light Source II, a DOE Office of Science User Facility, where Brookhaven scientists and collaborators are helping in the fight against COVID-19. It also includes scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, another world-leading research lab on Long Island helping to combat COVID-19.
The Full STEM Ahead Long Island series encourages students to consider careers in STEM—furthering efforts to build Long Island’s innovation corridor and strengthen workforce development across New York. It was produced by the Long Island STEM Hub, which is co-led by Brookhaven Lab, with support from New York State. The first Full STEM Ahead episode, “Crushing it with Composites,” was nominated for a New York Emmy. The series launched in February 2020.
Inspiring the Workforce of the Future
The coronavirus and quests to cure COVID-19 are urgent reminders of the importance of a well-prepared science and technology workforce. A workforce like that doesn't just grow on its own. That's why we work hard to make science accessible to students from every walk of life.
— Ken White, Brookhaven Lab's Office of Educational Programs
Before the pandemic, more than 30,000 students and educators in kindergarten to grade 12 visited Brookhaven Lab annually. They came for field trips to the Science Learning Center and events, including DOE's National Science Bowl and the Elementary School Science Fair. The Lab also hosted hundreds of college-level students and professors each year for hands-on research with Brookhaven staff and facilities.
In March, when schools closed and most Brookhaven staff began working remotely, the Lab's educators soon started creating content for the Science at Home website. For the first time, they hosted the annual bridge-building contest virtually. Similarly, they will hold the Lab's annual Elementary School Science Fair virtually this month, instead of in-person. Plus, they expanded the fair with a new “Science Share” program enabling students to display their projects online despite not qualifying for this year's science fair, because of school closures.
Working closely with DOE leadership and Brookhaven's network of mentors, White and his team also found ways for many interns in the upcoming summer cohort to participate in projects remotely.
"The coronavirus and quests to cure COVID-19 are urgent reminders of the importance of a well-prepared science and technology workforce," White said. "A workforce like that doesn't just grow on its own. That's why we work hard to make science accessible to students from every walk of life. We work with families, schools, and other institutions to help students find paths toward rewarding careers and a brighter future for all."
About Brookhaven Lab
Brookhaven National Laboratory delivers discovery science and transformative technology to power and secure the nation’s future. Brookhaven Lab is a multidisciplinary laboratory with seven Nobel Prize-winning discoveries, 37 R&D 100 Awards, and more than 70 years of pioneering research. Learn more about Brookhaven Lab.
Brookhaven National Laboratory is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit https://www.energy.gov/science/.
2020-17219 | INT/EXT | Newsroom