M4S@School Helps New York City Students Visit NASA

Math4Science Founder Justine Henning brought Urban Academy Laboratory High School’s calculus class to Maryland for a visit to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Goddard Space Flight Center.   Preparing for the Visit Math4Science lessons begin with an open-ended question designed to help students and teachers get to know each other and explore the role of STEM in their own lives. Engineers we interview often remember taking things apart and trying to put them back together as children. “What have you taken apart? What happened after that?” These were the questions we asked Urban Academy’s calculus students. K took apart… Learn more

Alexander Walts

Aerospace Engineer “I just want to work on something that goes into space. I don’t care if all I do is tighten one bolt. I just want to see the rocket go and know that I did something on that thing to make it work.”  That was Aerospace Engineer Alexander Walts’s wish in college, when he sent out hundreds of applications for internships, hoping to eventually be accepted to one that would push him closer to his dream. Today, he builds critical parts of machines that will help detect X-ray radiation in outer space.  Working on XRISM, a joint project… Learn more

Math Equity

  This semester, I’ve been lucky enough to teach a tiny math class at a school that genuinely wants to educate (in the best senses of that word) its students and frees teachers up to do so. There are no set curriculum, no enormous, dry textbooks, and no standardized tests to anticipate. Also, I’ve had some of their top math students in my class — not many kids make it to calculus at that school. Another wonderful thing about the place is that the student body comes from all over New York City and all sorts of economic and ethnic… Learn more

Ecosystem Biologist

Ecosystem Biologists are ecologists who study the ways that elements and compounds move through the air, water, and soil. They ask questions like “What causes acid rain? How does it affect forests?” and “How does nitrogen flow through rivers?” Earth System Scientist  Noel Gurwick tracks different forms of nitrogen released by fertilizers used on fields as they move through the soil, water, and air. He also studies microbes and the roots of plants growing near springs and rivers.

Noel Gurwick

Earth System Scientist “I am somebody who enjoys spending time tramping around in the woods,” says Ecosystem Biologist Noel Gurwick, an earth system scientist. Perhaps that’s part of the reason he’s interested in protec ting the environment from damage done by human activity. In the late 18th (1700s) and early 19th (1800s) centuries, the industrial revolution brought great changes to the economy. People used metal and new sources of energy, such as coal, steam, and petroleum to build machines and power cars and trains. They organized themselves and those machines into factories that allowed them to produce clothing and goods that… Learn more

Connecting students and scientists

An update from M4S Founder Justine Henning What fun it has been to introduce my own math students to Math4Science this semester! This autumn, I have had the good fortune to fill in for a teacher on parental leave from Urban Academy Laboratory High School, an alternative public school in New York City. Aside from experiencing first-hand the challenges of teaching math in the classroom, I get to be part of a vibrant, supportive community of budding adults from all over NYC, students from all walks of life and family backgrounds. The deep, broad diversity of the student body and… Learn more

Fall update/fundraiser

It was an exciting summer at Math4Science! We have focused the first years of our existence building our Explore Science pages to introduce children to a wide array of STEM professionals. We’ve also designed a math curriculum that combines master teaching techniques with what we’ve been learning from the scientists we profile and begun testing it in New York City-area schools, with exciting results. This summer we turned our attention to begin building Explore Math, our K-12th grade math units, out of our knowledge of how to teach math effectively while incorporating information about featured STEM professionals in every problem students solve. Creating this curriculum will require hours and hours of… Learn more

Barbara Offenhartz

Physical Chemist “Take a deep breath.” Maybe a doctor, a yoga teacher, or someone wanting to help you in some way has suggested this to you.  It’s good advice: breathing keeps us alive and gives us energy.   Throughout our lives, our bodies engage in respiration, a process that gives us the energy we need to do everything from playing basketball, baseball, or soccer to doing homework for school to keeping our bodies themselves running well. You could say that respiration begins with breathing in oxygen, which our lungs pass on to our blood.  The blood brings oxygen all over… Learn more

Peter O’Donnell Offenhartz

Physical Chemist Peter O’Donnell Offenhartz spends his summers on a small island off the coast of Maine. Knowing that he’s a scientist and creative problem-solver, people there come to him with requests that run from “How can I improve my telephone service?” to “Why does my boat battery keep failing?”  Read on to find out how Offenhartz uses his knowledge of chemistry and physics to help his neighbors. “I think I always knew I was going to make my living in science,” says Offenhartz, who grew up in Westchester, outside of New York City. His parents “wanted me to be… Learn more

Physical Chemist

Physical chemists study energy, molecular structures, and other behaviors and characteristics of matter on a tiny scale. Their work has many applications, from medical technology to energy storage, air conditioning, refrigeration, and heat. “Physical chemistry is a wonderful sort of union of physics and chemistry,” says Physical Chemist Barbara Hopf Offenhartz. She studied the structure and behavior of molecules of vitamin B12 and hemoglobin, both of which play key roles in respiration (the system that turns oxygen and sugar into the energy that helps your body stay healthy). The work Offenhartz did helped produce today’s sophisticated instruments for using light… Learn more