following article appeared March 10, 2003 in the
donates science gear to Pines school that lost shuttle experiment"
By Karla D. Shores
Posted March 10 2003
In scientific terms,
it's called magnetism. In middle school science class, it's a study of
how students' passion to learn can draw national recognition and
attention from state and local science buffs.
When the space
shuttle broke up in the atmosphere Feb. 1, Pembroke Pines Charter
middle school students watched as they lost their crystal formation
experiment aboard Columbia.
After seeing the students' intense attraction to
their experiment, a Boca Raton businessman began sending boxes of
science equipment to the school, positioning it to have one of few
middle-school classrooms to house what will become a state-of-the-art
Science Center. A state-run technology group followed suit, offering
to help maintain students' interest in science through funding and
Science teacher Barry Perlman is hesitant to
glorify the school's new fortune, which will equal many college-level
science labs when the center is completed next month. "You don't
want to say it's a positive thing because of what happened,"
But the shuttle tragedy is what brought national
television crews to Pembroke Pines Charter. Students from several
elementary schools collaborated to send an experiment aboard Columbia,
but Perlman said Pembroke Pines Charter was the only one to send up
its own experiment individually. "We wouldn't have this science
center without having done this project," he said.
Boca Raton businessman Richard Newman, owner of High-Tech Productions, had planned a partnership with the school after
learning the students sent up a crystal experiment on the shuttle. But
after learning the students lost the experiment, he stepped up the
process to start a science center. "I wanted to help them
overcome the tragedy, move forward, and continue education and
research in space exploration. It was really in the talking stages,
and then the shuttle tragedy happened. It further inspired me to get
this up and running."
So far, the collection given to the charter school
is worth $6,000, said Newman, who continues to ship items to the
school. Now the eighth-graders watch every day as Perlman opens a new
box of gifts and stores them behind locked doors.
In April, Perlman and some of his students will
display the equipment -- 10 Geiger counters, a fossil collection,
geodes, computerized telescopes, a lightning detector and weather
station -- in one of the school's classrooms, creating a
semiprofessional science center.
Seventh-grader Ryan Burney, who was the lead
investigator for the crystal experiment, said he hopes the center will
get more of his peers interested in science. "This will be a
great benefit not only to science class in the school but to the
overall interest in science in the school," said Burney, 13, who
plans to pursue rocket science in college. "The fact that this
man is giving something so expensive to the school out of generosity
is very interesting."
Perlman said he was astounded by the number of
Geiger counters the school received. Schools are lucky to have one to
share. This school will have enough to conduct a lab.
Four other science teachers and the school's 600
students in grades six through eight will use the center extensively,
Perlman said, because the school's focus has always been technology
and science. The private sector isn't the only group reaching out to
the school. The Technological Research and Development Authority,
approved by the Legislature in 1987, also is interested in helping
build the school's science center. Michelle Peters, education director
for the authority, said the group is open to the needs of the school,
including paying for projects and donating more materials for future
science projects. "Our goal is to assist these students in
whatever capacity we can to get their experiments up and
running," Peters said. "We really just want to help the
Science teacher Juanita Farmer said the publicity
and generosity from science lovers will help the school's science
department enhance its curriculum, even as the Florida Comprehensive
Assessment Test starts to focus more on physical science. "I hope
it adds to the hands-on things we can do," Farmer said. "I
don't think many schools can do this unless they have a great deal of
funds because of the budget cuts. These things are going to help out
the school tremendously."
Here for other News & Press Releases
For more information
on the Science & Technology Centers,
or to have a center
set up at a school or camp near you, visit:
or call them toll free 800 662-8336.
Here to see what others are saying about us.
proud to help
bring science & technology to kids of all ages.
Here are links to some Fun
Activities & Great Places to Visit
This web site is
intended for educational purposes & to
further enhance the learning experience for kids of all ages.
The Science Centers
are provided by High-Tech
a privately owned company located in Florida.
Our purpose is to bring new
technologies to the youth of America.
There is never an admission fee or
High-Tech Productions All rights reserved.