Galloway Partners through a Pandemic with Horizons Atlanta
UL Microbiology Class Infuses Design Thinking and Biodesign
Founded in 1964 and expanding nationally since 1995, Horizons is a network of high-quality, tuition-free, immersive, academic and enrichment programs for children in underserved communities. Galloway announced its partnership with Horizons in November 2019 with the intent to close the opportunity gap by providing underserved students in north Atlanta access to high-quality academics and enrichment in an engaging summer learning program. Due to the global pandemic, Galloway was unable to host its first summer as a Horizons Atlanta partner on campus. However, the important work the school is doing merely shifted in form. Galloway’s Site Director Bayless Fleming led a team of EL teachers and several volunteers to ensure that students’ out-of-school summer needs are served while honoring public health guidelines. The team started the summer by providing more than 25 Chromebooks for rising first grade students at Scott Elementary, Galloway’s partner school. These Chromebooks are loaded with Lexia Online Learning and various educational apps to facilitate continuous learning over the summer. In lieu of on-campus summer camps, students took four weeks of virtual reading sessions with Dori Herald, Zeke Epsey, and Becky Chamberlain, celebrating the culmination of the summer with an ice cream social! Once a week, Bayless and her team also coordinated food drops for families at Scott Elementary.
Creativity. Innovation. Collaboration. Interdisciplinary Learning. These are the things that come to mind when one hears about the new Upper Learning class Microbiology in Action: Biotechnology that is co-taught by Upper Learning technology and computer science teacher MariaPaola Jimenez and Upper Learning science teacher Elizabeth Sanders. Ms. Jimenez and Ms. Sanders partnered together to create an interdisciplinary class that infuses an understanding of microbiology with design thinking and biodesign. The class aims to help students learn about design thinking, spatial reasoning, and biotechnology, and apply it to solve real-world challenges. For example: the first unit focused on kombucha, a fermented product made by a symbiotic culture of yeast and bacteria. Students cultured their own samples of kombucha, observing the microbes microscopically and the development of the microcellulose biofilm that the bacteria builds at the surface. Students researched the real-world applications of bacterial microcellulose from biomedical (skin grafts, artificial organs, pill casings) and fashion (textiles
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Once the school year started, Horizons continued its programming and held events outside of the regular school day such as a socially distant Halloween celebration, a school supply drive, and a LEGO design challenge. Although our partnership had to shift in form this year, Galloway is excited about what this new venture holds as we continue to grow our relationship with Horizons.
and faux leather) to bioplastics, foods, and body care products. Students then used bacterial microcellulose to create product prototypes, which ranged from the decorative (butterfly ornament) to the utilitarian (lampshade) and medical (skin bandages). In the second unit, students learned about the design thinking process with Ms. Jimenez and applied their knowledge to create a mold using 3D design. After 3D printing their molds, students will grow fungi in the molds. After the fungal mycelium fills the space of the mold (taking its shape), it will be removed from the mold, dried, and preserved so it can be used to create materials varying in weight, strength, and flexibility. These can be used in packaging, acoustics, insulation, construction systems, containers, and more. Students in the class emphasized how much they enjoyed studying biodesign and microbiology for their multitude of uses in everyday life. “I like learning about the science,” Jessica Schwartz ’21 shared, “But more importantly, how to apply it to create practical solutions for real-world problems.”
THE GALLOWAY MAGAZINE | WINTER 2021
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