Harlem Academy middle schoolers study a range of science disciplines as they hone their scientific inquiry and analytical skills, from geology to biology to emergency medicine. But last week, as a special assignment to celebrate National STEM Day, students were tasked with identifying and researching an area of science they didn’t know existed.
Middle school science teacher Dr. Eric James got the ball rolling with a few prompts, and the only limit was students’ imaginations.
The push to broaden students’ knowledge about different areas of science is an extension of the way our science curriculum makes connections between scientific concepts and future career paths. As they delved into their individual projects, students’ interests ran the gamut: civil engineering, anesthesiology, and more.
Seventh grader Analise was most intrigued by the field of bioethics, a branch of study that deals with the ethical implications of medical and biological research. “With the constant advancement of biological technology, I find it very important to discuss ethical questions,” she says. “The concept of morals in the field of science piqued my curiosity because morals are subjective, and I wanted to know how someone could create a set of ethics-based rules for science.”
As she shared her findings with the class, relying on her research to answer questions, Analise felt a sense of both pride and responsibility. “I enjoyed being able to expand my own knowledge about STEM,” she says. “More importantly, I did this presentation to help educate my classmates about what bioethics is. The combination of science and opinions is something we don’t talk about often enough.”