[MUSIC PLAYING] FERN LAN SIEW: Do you think we might find maybe something that's microscopic in there? Possibly, right? Tetrahymena itself is a very easy organism to grow. And it being a single celled organism, it's plentiful. When you grow it, the kids can see across the microscope, and it's fast. And so right off the bat, you have a very action-packed organism that kind of captures the students' interest. That is tetrahymena.
Most of our labs are written for the middle school and high school, but there's a lot of labs as well that we can tailor down to the elementary school.
SPEAKER 1: Oh, now I see the snail!
FERN LAN SIEW: The earlier that we can introduce science to the students, they get comfortable with using all this different equipment and lab supplies so that as they go on, they're more comfortable with doing a science experiment overall. The acronym ASSET stands for Advancing Secondary Science Education through Tetrahymena.
And the neat thing is that there's a very close-knit science community that has come together through our website. They are more than happy to answer any kind of questions the students may have about tetrahymena or about science research or science in general.
SPEAKER 2: Oh, what is that?
FERN LAN SIEW: They're waving their cilia along, and that's how they can zoom [INAUDIBLE] out in the water. And it's because of the funding that we received from NIH we are able to do the work that we do. We come together to build these great lab modules that not only highlights tetrahymena, but is able to develop these biology concepts to the students. And we bring teachers in the summertime with the funding, and we train them on how to use these lab modules.
So this funding has really made it possible for us to not only support development of the modules, but also to ultimately support these teachers and their quest to bring more hands-on inquiry science into the classroom. You want to capture the interest of the students. You want them to be comfortable with science. Whether they choose science as a profession, whether they choose science to the point that it makes them a more informed consumer, you want to have science be part of their everyday lives.
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A group of students and teachers take part in a field trip using a science module supported by the NIH-funded ASSET program at Cornell. This video is for demonstration purposes, to exemplify students using one of the elementary school modules.