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Advanced Math/Science Research Experiences


Virus Hunters

SUNDAY, JULY 7 - FRIDAY, JULY 12

Ages: Rising 6th-9th graders
Cost: $1,575

Bacteriophage (phages) are viruses of bacteria and are the most abundant entities on Earth with estimates of 1031 bacteriophage total on this planet; that’s 10 quadrillion quadrillion phages. Each of these phages are genetically unique, and hold evolutionary stories from past infections and recombinations. In this summer experience, virus hunters will isolate their own very bacteriophage virus from soil samples from local Berkshire farms. These bacterial viruses will then be purified, characterized with molecular biology assays, and visualized with our Transmission Electron Microscope. The DNA from each virus will also be isolated for sequencing at a later date. Viruses will then be named by the hunter who found it (you get to name your own phage!!) and submitted to the University of Pittsburgh Phages Database which Berkshire School has been a contributor for the past seven years.

Topics: Biology, Chemistry, Microbiology, Virology, Molecular Biology

Techniques/Skills Learned: Laboratory Safety, Basic Solution Preparation, Microbiology Media Preparation, Sterile Technique, Serial Dilutions, Virus Plaque Assays, DNA Isolation, Restriction Enzyme Digestion, Electrophoresis, Sample Preparation for Negative Staining, and Operation of the Transmission Electron Microscope.

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Faculty

Dr. April Burch

Dr. April Burch is the Science Department Chair at Berkshire School and director of the Advanced Math/Science Research Program, an intensive, yearlong course that allows students to design and execute an original research project of their choice in the biological, physical, or social sciences. Dr. Burch holds a Ph. D. from the University of Arizona, and bachelor's of science degree from Southeastern Louisiana State.

 

 

 


Cells Around Us

SUNDAY, JULY 14 - FRIDAY, JULY 19

Ages: Rising 6th-9th graders
Cost: $1,575

Students in this course will investigate the differences between good and bad bacteria while researching basic genetic engineering using bacterial cells and current events on genetic engineering. Nerve cells and how they communicate are explored as well as analyzing and understating action potential using the SpikerBox.

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Faculty

Tony Amolo '13

Tony Amolo '13 is a member of the Science Department at Berkshire School, where he teaches biology and advanced biology. He holds a bachelor's degree from Kenyon College. In addition to his teaching duties, Tony is an assistant coach of the Boys Varsity Soccer team.

 

 

 


Environmental Science & Education for Sustainability

SUNDAY, JULY 21 - FRIDAY, JULY 26

Ages: Rising 6th-9th graders
Cost: $1,575

Students in this course will experience place-based immersion in the local environment, spending considerable class time outside, learning and connecting with the diversity of ecosystems that make up the Berkshires. Field and laboratory investigations, scientific method, and critical thinking and problem solving will all be learned about and conducted throughout the week. Students will learn about the interrelationships of Earth’s ecosystems, atmosphere, climate, soils, energy, weather, and populations. This course will bring focus to solutions and learning our way towards a more sustainable future for all.

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Faculty

Patrick Donovan

Patrick Donovan is a member of the Science Department at Berkshire School, where he teaches Environmental Science and AP Environmental Science, while also leading the School's Sustainability program. Patrick holds a bachelor's degree from the University of New Hampshire, and is currently a graduate student at the University of Vermont's Master of Professional Studies in Leadership for Sustainability program. He previously taught a Global Leadership class at Berkshire and is a coach with the School's alpine ski program.

 

 


For more information on Summer Programs at Berkshire contact:  

Chris Landosky
Director of Summer Programsclandosky@berkshireschool.org
413-229-1207


 

Berkshire School Campus