GATES Scientists Honored

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Rocky Point Middle School’s sixth-grade GATES students were honored by Brookhaven National Laboratory for their participation in the Open Space Stewardship Program.  

Throughout the year, the students worked on various projects relating to the Rocky Point Pine Barrens, including gathering weather data, collecting and analyzing soil samples and collecting plant specimens and sequencing their DNA. Additionally, they learned about how Long Island was formed, about its geology and aquifers, and even built their own “aquifers in a cup.” They also modeled how kettle holes form when glaciers melt.

Before sequencing the DNA of the plants they collected, the students learned how DNA replicates itself and how Polymerase Chain Reaction works to amplify DNA for analysis. They learned the proper micropipetting technique and completed their own procedures to prepare their specimens for sequencing. The techniques and equipment used are truly cutting edge and these students were exceptional at learning and utilizing these difficult procedures.

The students collaboratively presented their work during a celebration this spring at BNL, where they detailed their results using a poster they had created.