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Priory's Science Team Share Summer Experiences

Mr. Bander's PaleoTrek Expedition (Summer '15)

This summer, several members of Priory’s science faculty spent time off campus experiencing new labs, gathering data in the field, and finding incredible opportunities to bring back to Priory for their students. Mr. Bander, Mr. McLaughlin, Mr. Orlando and Mr. Wenger shared their summer experiences with us.

Mr. William Bander

This summer, I participated in a PaleoTrek expedition. I, along with students and educators from various schools, went to Jordan, Montana to dig for dinosaur fossils. We had extremely good luck this year and ended up finding more fossils than we could transport out of the Montana Badlands. Many of the larger finds (rib bones, skull fragments, etc.) will have to be processed through the Museum of the Rockies before they can be loaned out to Priory for educational purposes. However, smaller finds (gar scales, turtle shells, champsosaurus teeth, dromaeosaur digits, fossilized plants, etc.) have already been cataloged and added to Priory’s fossil collection in the science department. They will be used for various labs and demonstration in the Junior School science curriculum regarding paleontology in the 7th grade geology course and comparative anatomy in the 8th grade health science course.


Mr. Justin Orlando ’99

At the end of the 2014-15 school year, I flew to Minneapolis, MN in late May to attend the National Science Teacher’s Association’s 4th STEM Forum and Expo. At this conference, science teachers from all grade levels (mostly K-12, including some higher education) across the country came together to discuss, demonstrate, and share best teaching practices; particularly those lessons that seamlessly incorporate several major science topics within the context of a particular course. The philosophy behind STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) lies in both getting students to see the connections between seemingly disparate subject matter both within and outside of science, and allowing students to realize these connections by providing authentic opportunities for discovery. While at the conference, I met with veteran biology, chemistry, and physics teachers who showed me unique ways to incorporate discussions of solid state materials (plastics, ceramics, composites, etc.), corrosion and redox, polymer science (with heavy emphasis on bioplastics), nanoscience, and molecular modeling with 3D printers into the everyday curriculum. Locally, I ventured down the road to Washington University for additional STEM workshops in late June and early July offered by Photosynthetic Antennae Research Center (PARC) with an emphasis on renewable energy. While there, I had the opportunity to work on nuclear chemistry labs with actual decaying samples, engineer a photobioreactor (or at least the beginnings of one), detect various microbes using spectroscopy, visit the Champ Landfill to see methane collection and redistribution from waste, and tour the Alberici Construction facility, a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified green building.  I am excited and overwhelmed with the amount of ideas I have from the conference and the seminar series! I look forward to working several of these ideas into my courses and to creating more opportunities to enhance science literacy at Priory.

Mr. Brandon McLaughlin

This summer I attended the Midwest Zebrafish Conference at Washington University. Having conducted research in developmental genetics and neuroscience using the zebrafish as a model organism, I am now exploring using the zebrafish as a tool for teaching biology. Over the past two decades the zebrafish has slowly become the premier model organism for studying vertebrate biology, especially genetics, and is currently the most easily genetically manipulated vertebrate used in biomedical research. In fact, it has become so popular that scientists now hold regional, national, and international academic meetings about progress being made in the field. The regional meeting at Washington University showcased some of the most cutting-edge research being conducted using zebrafish in fields from molecular genetics, to developmental biology, to neuroscience. While at the meeting, I was able to connect with local scientists who are enthusiastic about engaging in community outreach in the form of education. As a result, I have been fortunate to work with researchers at Washington University to get my zebrafish lab at Priory off the ground. With this new lab, I will be able to guide students through experiences focused on analyzing genetic, anatomical, and behavioral aspects of the fish as well as standard lab practices used in genetics labs such as DNA extractions and PCR genotyping. Also, through this meeting, I was able to organize a trip for my summer neuroscience class to visit one of the leading Alzheimer’s disease labs in the world, an experience that they will surely not forget!

Mr. McLaughlin's Zebrafish Lab

Mr. McLaughlin's Zebrafish Lab

Mr. Jake Wenger

This summer I worked at Washington University, helping develop lab experiences involving genetics for teachers involved in a Masters of Science in Biology Program. Our labs included using PCR and DNA sequencing to identify bacteria and a lab synthetic biology in which the students moved and modified promoters in the expressions of genes. I also instructed two labs in energy and energy transformation, one on the production of biodiesel and the other on the generation of hydrogen gas used to run fuel cells by using solar energy. I also attended several lectures presented by various professors on cutting-edge topics and research that included alternate energy, transposons, synthetic biology, epigenetics, and metagenomics. This summer I also attended a daylong workshop on genetic barcoding at the St. Louis Science Center. Finally, I participated in several meetings of the Washington University Evolution Education Book group.

“Listen carefully, my son, to the master’s instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart.”

Prologue, 1

“This is advice from a father who loves you; welcome it, and faithfully put it into practice.”

Prologue, 1

“First of all, every time you begin a good work, you must pray to him most earnestly to bring it to perfection.”

Prologue, 4

“If you desire true and eternal life, keep your tongue free from vicious talk and your lips from all deceit; turn away from evil and do good; let peace be your quest and aim. (Ps 33[34]:13)”

Prologue, 17

“Clothed then with faith and the performance of good works, let us set out on this way, with the Gospel for our guide, that we may deserve to see him who has called us to his kingdom (1 Thess 2:12).”

Prologue, 21

“If we wish to dwell in the tent of this kingdom, we will never arrive unless we run there by doing good deeds.”

Prologue, 22

“What is not possible to us by nature, let us ask the Lord to supply by the help of his grace.”

Prologue, 41

“Therefore, we intend to establish a school for the Lord’s service.”

Prologue, 45

“The good of all concerned, however, may prompt us to a little strictness in order to amend faults and to safeguard love.”

Prologue, 47

“The reason why we have said all should be called for counsel is that the Lord often reveals what is better to the younger.”

Chapter 3, 3

“Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way; the love of Christ must come before all else.”

Chapter 4, 20-21

“Never give a hollow greeting of peace or turn away when someone needs your love.” –Chapter 4, 25-26

“Bind yourself to no oath lest it prove false, but speak the truth with heart and tongue.”

Chapter 4, 27-28

“Place your hope in God alone.”

Chapter 4, 41

“Respect the elders and love the young.”

Chapter 4, 70-71

“Pray for your enemies out of love for Christ. “

Chapter 4, 72

“If you have a dispute with someone, make peace with him before the sun goes down.”

Chapter 4, 73

“The first step of humility is unhesitating obedience, which comes naturally to those who cherish Christ above all.”

Chapter 5, 1-2

“Speaking and teaching are the master’s task; the disciple is to be silent and listen.”

Chapter 6, 6

“The first step of humility, then, is that a man keeps the fear of God always before his eyes (PS 35[36]:2) and never forgets it.”

Chapter 7, 10

“Let us consider, then, how we ought to behave in the presence of God and his angels, and let us stand to sing the psalms in such a way that our minds are in harmony with our voices.”

Chapter 19, 6-7

“On arising for the Work of God, they will quietly encourage each other, for the sleepy like to make excuses.”

Chapter 22, 8

“Every age and level of understanding should receive appropriate treatment.”

Chapter 30, 1

“Above all, let him be humble. If goods are not available to meet a request, he will offer a kind word in reply, for it is written: A kind word is better than the best gift (Sir 18:17).”

Chapter 31, 13-14

“Let all the rest serve one another in love.”

Chapter 35, 6

“Indeed, nothing is to be preferred to the Work of God.”

Chapter 43, 3

“Idleness is the enemy of the soul. Therefore, the brothers should have specified periods for manual labor as well as for prayerful reading.”

Chapter 48, 1

“The life of a monk ought to be a continuous Lent.”

Chapter 49, 1

“All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, for he himself will say: I was a stranger and you welcomed me (Matt 25:35).”

Chapter 53, 1

“Proper honor must be shown to all, especially to those who share our faith (Gal 6:10) and to pilgrims.”

Chapter 53, 2

“(B)ecause wherever we may be, we are in the service of the same Lord and doing battle for the same King.”

Chapter 61, 10

They should each try to be the first to show respect to the other (Rom 12:10).”

Chapter 63, 17

“We wish this rule to be read often in the community, so that none of the brothers can offer the excuse of ignorance.”

Chapter 66, 8

“Trusting in God’s help, he must in love obey.”

Chapter 68, 5

Never to do another what you do not want done to yourself (Tob 4:16).”

Chapter 70, 7

“No one is to pursue what he judges better for himself, but instead, what he judges better for someone else.”

Chapter 72, 7

“Let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and may he bring us all together to everlasting life.”

Chapter 72, 11-12

“What page, what passage of the inspired books of the Old and New Testaments is not the truest of guides for human life?”

Chapter 73, 3

“What book of the holy catholic Fathers does not resoundingly summon us along the true way to reach the Creator?”

Chapter 73, 4


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