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Young Scientists Get Super Close Up

Submitted by Brook Bullock

OAKHURST – Students at Mountain Home and Glacier High charter schools experienced what could be a once in a lifetime science opportunity recently, when a scanning electron microscope (SEM) was loaned to them, so nascent scholars could see what some of the world looks like, magnified 30,000 times.

Hitachi High Technologies America, Inc. (HTA) loaned the microscope to the school for an educational outreach opportunity. HTA is a privately owned gloabal affiliate that operates within the Hitachi Group Companies,

Emma Blea and Lauren Rich, Annalea Fulce - checking out microscope 2014 - image courtesy Brook Bullock Mountain Home School CharterStudents in Mr. Englund’s Glacier High biology and chemistry classes participated in the program, along with Mountain Home groups from 6th – 8th grade. Others who expressed interest were welcomed to attend a workshop featuring the SEM.

One advantage students had using an SEM, instead of a traditional light microscope, was the ability to magnify objects up to 30,000 times using a beam of electrons.

Some of the samples students looked at under the SEM included insect wings, soil, salt, pollen, ants, an egg shell, and hair. They used a model called the TM3000 Tabletop Microscope, which is a relatively easy model to use. The young scientists were able to complete all the necessary steps required to use the equipment, from putting samples into the chamber and evacuating the chamber, to focusing the image on the screen, and moving the image around.

Audrey Phillips, Brianna Kilgore, and Kaylie Sullivan work with the scanning electron microscope on loan at Mountain Home School Charter - 2014 - photo courtesy Brook Bullock Mountain Home School Charter

A scanning electron microscope can be used for myriad tasks, some of which include checking computer chips for defects, examining trace materials on bullets for crime scene investigation, and to investigate the diseases behind the declining population of the honeybees.

Students said they loved how easy the SEM was to use and were surprised at the fine detail they saw once the images were magnified.

Asher Seiling, Allsion Seiling, Elisa Heidebrecht, and Lydia Avent at Mountain Home Charter with scanning electron microscope - 2014 - photo courtesy Brook Bullock Mountain Home School CharterPictured using the microscope are Emma Hagen, Olivia Hagen, Kat Stanford, Cedar Dobson, Audrey Phillips, Brianna Kilgore, Kaylie Sullivan, Emma Blea, Lauren Rich, Annalea Fulce, Akira Hoagland, Shine Hoagland, Blaze Hoagland, Asher Seiling, Allison Seiling, Elisa Heidenbrecht, Lydia Avent, Christian Mendoza and Jonathan Gramajo.

Mountain Home School and Glacier High School extend their gratitude to Hitachi High Technologies for this awesome opportunity.

Part of HTA’s corporate commitment is educational outreach, which is what originally brought the microscope to Oakhurst.

Kat Stanford and Cedar Dobson work with scanning electron microscope - 2014 - photo courtesy Brook Bullock Mountain Home School Charter

“Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education is critical to the future of our country,” say proponents of STEM at HTA. “By 2018 experts predict the United States will have 1.2 million job openings in STEM related occupations, but only 200,000 new graduates will have the skills to fill them. HTA is working to inspire a new generation of achievement in STEM education. It’s more important than ever.”

HTA sells and services semiconductor manufacturing equiment, analytical instrumentation, and scientific instruments, and sells industrial equipment, consumer electronics, and wireless telephones, among other products.

Cristian Mendoza and Jonathan Gramajo check out the scanning electron microscope on loan to Glacier High - 2014 - photo courtesy Brook Bullock Mountain Home Charter School

“If seeing is believing, then nothing demonstrates the wonders of science and technology in the world today like our tabletop electron microscope,” HTA outreach coordinators promised, and then delivered on that promise. The microscope has since been returned to company headquarters, though the memories of what students learned will remain to inspire their future education.

Ms. Bullock teaches at Mountain Home School

For more information visit the Mountain Home School Charter and Glacier High School Charter pages on Facebook.

Cedar Dobson, Akira Hoagland, Shine Hoagland, and Blaze Hoagland - 2014 - image courtesy Brook Bullock Mountain Home School CharterMicroscope featherMicroscope insect wingMicroscope lilly pollen

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