Chemistry and Biotechnology: A Comparison Reply

What is biotechnology and how important is it? “The biotechnology course is designed to give students background on the essential fundamentals that will implement students on future science courses,” said Dr. Helfenbein, BSGE’s biology teacher. In essence, the course educates students on the ways we conduct our in-depth investigations on the workings of the natural world.

Have you ever wondered why the world works the way it does? How things connect and correlate with one another? Chemistry encompasses all of human life. It helps students become more aware of the world around them through their senses, as well as learn about themselves as a functioning being. Learning chemistry is a key element to our society. It can even aid technological advancements, develop the medical field, and assist in biological breakthroughs! More…

Lasko’s Lovely Labs Reply

With the school year drawing to a near end, BSGE seventh graders are getting a taste of the kind of work they must do further on in their BSGE career. A good example of this would be the recent two lab reports assigned in science class. Unlike anything a seventh grader has ever done before, the lab reports certainly had an effect on how students viewed their workloads, be it a positive or negative one.

Starting off with an in-class lab experiment, students must collect reliable data, and then produce a report that interprets, draws conclusions from, and reflects on their collected data. With the entire process and report being a rather lengthy process, some students who are still adapting to their new environment and workload see this as a good thing, while others are happy to get this leg of the race over with.

Despite some of the negative opinions on the report and its process, the majority of seventh graders consider it beneficial to their future academic career, writing abilities, and even time management skills. More…

BSGE’s Lack of a Physics Class Reply

BSGE is known for being one of the best high schools in New York City. With only 478 students from 7th to 12th grade, many students would agree that it is good to have a smaller, more intimate school environment where everyone knows, well, everyone.  However, there are some drawbacks, for example, having such a small school building makes it difficult to walk in the hallways in between periods and having lockers that are accessible throughout the day.  Many of us would agree, though, that one of the biggest problems is a lack of variety of classes.

One very important subject that our school is missing is a high school Physics class.  There are two major reasons why we lack Physics at BSGE.  First, we don’t have a Physics certified teacher working at the school.

Secondly, and perhaps a more difficult to solve reason, is a scheduling problem.  Because of the structure of the IB program, the only year students could take Physics at BSGE would be in the 9th grade, whereas most other high schools offer physics to students in the 11th grade. At BSGE, students take Regents Chemistry in 10th grade, either IB SL Biology or SL Chemistry in 11th grade, and no science class in 12th grade. There is no room in students’ schedules for a science class in 12th grade because of IB requirements such as Theory of Knowledge. The problem BSGE has encountered in the past is that by 9th grade students generally have not learned enough math to grasp Physics in the 9th grade. Despite this, school like Stuyvesant have a  More…

BSGE’s Science Class Mobiles Reply

For several years Mr. Laskowski has assigned mobile projects to seventh graders towards the end of the school year. For this project seventh graders have to create a mobile of fourteen balanced distinct objects based off a chosen theme. Students work with partners to accomplish this goal and have a target of balancing two objects each science class.

The project has been a difficult project, as students face many obstacles. One reason is that “objects kept falling apart,” Justin Hamlin ‘17 remarks. Other obstacles include wooden levers breaking, strings not swinging, strings loosening, mobiles unbalancing, and the objects breaking. Mr. Laskowski speaks of unfortunate events of grading finished mobiles of prior seventh graders, such as entire mobiles crashing and objects loosening from More…

Lack of Physics Class Proves to be a Problem Reply

1101_physics_crop-500x333For students who want to major in engineering in college, taking a physics course is important, which poses a problem for BSGE students. In order to major in engineering, colleges and universities encourage students to take a course in physics in high school, a class BSGE no longer offers. According to the website of the PhysTEC department at Cornell University, students who pursue majors in science or engineering are often required to take Physics in college and these courses are more challenging for a student who has not taken Physics in high school at all. It is common for the Dean or head of the department of engineering at a University to discourage students from majoring in engineering in these cases because students do not have proper preparation or fundamental knowledge of physics.  In addition, it puts students who have not taken physics in high school at a disadvantage during the


7th Grade Alka Seltzer Science Lab Reply

alka setlzerThe 7th grade students were assigned a difficult lab by Mr. Laskowski early in the second semester in which students measured the dissolving time of an Alka- Seltzer tablet. The students, working with a partner, had to place multiple tablets of Alka- Seltzer into glasses full of different temperature water. The purpose of the lab was to measure the temperature that would dissolve the Alka-Seltzer tablet the fastest. After the actual lab was completed the students only had a week to work on the written part which made the lab even more treacherous. 7th grader Zoe Fisher pointed out that “The actual experiment itself wasn’t hard to do, but writing the report was very time consuming.” The list of requirements was long and the structure was tough to follow, but not More…

Teacher of the Month: Dr. Helfenbein Reply

What do you think of the school year so far?
So far it’s going well. Most of the students are working hard, and I hope it continues for the rest of the year.

How long have you been teaching?
This is my 6th year teaching, and my 4th year here teaching at BSGE.

Why did you become a teacher?
Well, I guess I was at a point in my life where I needed to make a career decision. My background was in science. I used to work as a researcher at a lab. I wanted the job to connect to my scientific background, but one in which had the chance to work with people a bit more. And when I saw that New York City was looking for new teachers that were coming from other professions, it seemed to be a match, a fit.

What were you considered to be in school? (Nerd, Jock)
Um.. Boy.. I guess More…

CSI BSGE Style: Our New Forensics Class Reply

This year’s budget cuts left us with a modified science curriculum. One of the changes to BSGE’s curriculum is the new 9th grade Forensic Science class taught by Mr. Laskowski. Before this year, 9th graders took Regents Physics with Mr. Hofer, however, he left the school and left BSGE without a Physics teacher and without a 9th grade Science class.  Mr. Laskowski (who also teaches 7th grade) was asked to create a new class to fill the void left by Physics.
Forensics is not a very common subject in other schools so it is surprising to see that it was chosen as a new science class for BSGE. According to Ms. Johnson, the reason that Forensics was chosen as an alternative class was because the class “will help students when they take 10th grade Chemistry, and IB Chemistry or IB Biology, as Forensics includes concepts and skills related to both Chemistry and Biology.” BSGE hopes to increase the More…