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Inwood, N.Y.
Student views crystals under a microscope

A budding young scientist views the formation of zinc phosphate crystals under a digital microscope. Image Credit: SSEP

Experiment: Deposition and Formation of Zinc Phosphate Crystals in Microgravity

The countdown was on for the students of Yeshiva Ketana of Long Island! Student teams became immersed in "real science" as they evaluated different experiments to send into space aboard space shuttle Atlantis. The students, led by Larissa Steele, assistant principal and educational consultant for the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program, collaborated with teacher-facilitators and research scientists to engage in scientific discovery from the initial development of scientific proposals, to the creation of Earth-bound controls, to the anticipation of post-landing research.

The students will examine the differences between crystals grown in microgravity and those grown on Earth to determine which setting produces crystals with fewer defects. The students understand the potentially significant commercial and medical relevance of their research.

A student writing at a lab table

A student from Yeshiva Ketana Long Island explores A Mind and Matter in Motion. Image Credit: SSEP

While the actual research team comprises fifth-, sixth- and seventh-grade students, the whole school is abuzz with excitement. Every student will participate in the experience across the disciplines. "What makes this project amazing is that our whole community -- students, teachers and parents -- will be studying the effects of microgravity. This is learning and sharing at its best, and together we will have the experience of a lifetime when the shuttle lifts off with our students’ experiments on board," explained Rabbi Ginian, executive director of Yeshiva Ketana of Long Island.

The administration, parent body and larger Inwood community are thrilled that the students have internalized the relevance and accessibility of authentic scientific experimentation and space exploration. This exciting SSEP initiative will make a lasting impression on the students and inspire them to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines.

Stewart Greenberg and Ari Ginian: Yeshiva Ketana of Long Island
Rebecca Dorfmueller: NASA Educational Technology Services