PRESTONSBURG – Floyd County Schools’ Talented and Gifted Program brought seventh grade students to Big Sandy Community and Technical College (BSCTC) Wednesday for hands-on experiments thanks to a grant provided by Alltech Corporation in partnership with the National Science Federation.
The program sponsored by the grant is called Appalachian B.O.L.D. (Bioeconomy, Outreach, Leadership, and Development). Dr. Thomas L. Vierheller, Professor of Biology, is the BSCTC faculty member heading up the program along with the East Kentucky Science Center.
Students began the day at the East Kentucky Science Center by watching the laser show “Sunstruck”. Wednesday marked the first day of a series of visits students will make to the college.
“We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in this program,” said April Steele, Floyd County Gifted and Talented Coordinator. “Our students enjoy doing hands on activities and learning about science. It always excites me to see the students engaged and excited about learning.”
Students participating in the Appalachian B.O.L.D. activities will learn about DNA extraction by studying strawberry DNA and human cheek cells, yeast fermentation, solar energy, photosynthesis in leaf disk. Students will also learn to use the spectrophotometer. A spectrophotometer is a machine that is used for measuring the intensity of light in a part of the spectrum, especially as transmitted or emitted by particular substance. The device is often used for measuring the brightness of the various portions of the spectra.
Students will do experiments to measure the light absorption of plant pigments and also on enzyme activity with the program as well.
The purpose of the program is to spark an interest in various areas of science. Facilitators of the program give students a survey at the beginning and end of the program to see how their attitude about the various topics.
“Being able to bring our students to the college and take advantage of the knowledge of Dr. Vierheller could spark something in a student to inspire them to pursue a degree in science,” said Sandra Tackett, Floyd County Gifted and Talented Instructor. “Coming to the college campus and being in this environment is a big deal to middle school students. They are at the age where they are beginning to think about their future and possibly college.”
The group of 23 students were from Betsy Layne Elementary School, John M. Stumbo Elementary School, Allen Elementary School and South Floyd Middle School. They were accompanied by Steele and Tackett. Chaperones for the trip were Renee Gabbard (John M. Stumbo Elementary School) and Christy Johnson from (South Floyd Middle School).
Andrea Saddler is a reporter for The Floyd County Times. She can be reached at (606) 886-8506.