Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Science Center in Kiryat Malachi

The science center in Kiryat Malachi was created about 12 years ago and has gone through ups and downs. Moshe Tenne took over as director about 6 years ago and helped develop it as a place for locals to learn about science. After his untimely death, Talia Bernard was named the new director. At various times, the Jewish Federations of Tucson, Phoenix, and Seattle, through the TIPS partnership have donated to help improve the center and programs in it.

This year, in Talia's capable hands, with funds from a variety of places including the Federations of Portland and Tucson, the center has been renovated physically, and is full of activity throughout the school year. The center was renamed in Tenne's honor this spring.
Moshe Tenne and grandchildren

All middle school students from the adjacent secondary school AMAL study general science at the center. Science is not required in 10th--12th grades nationally. About 30% of the students at this school take Biology, and now students are signing up for Physics, a relatively new course at the school. The physics teacher is extremely good and has increased the number of students in the five point program from 3 in 2006-7 to 8 last year, and all passed the test. Next year more have registered for this class.

With the help of the donors, the student tables and teacher desks have been replaced.

New student tables and chairs. New sound and light-blocking curtains

New student table and chairs (close-up) and new computers

Several new digital projectors were purchased

Esti, the center's administrative assistant, standing next to a teacher's computer and a teacher's table. The teacher's table is acid-protected as that is where many experiments in class take place.

New computers have been added to some of the labs, including a new technology lab.

New cabinets for storage were bought.

The office has a new floor, new cabinets, and was being painted when we were there.

This past year, the wall near the water fountain was remodeled and the water fountain can be put in a cabinet when not in use, keeping it from breakage.

An astronomy lab has been built with a small planetarium adjacent.

Display cases have been created with scientific models inside which can be used for instruction.

Biology models:

The center director, Talia Bernard, next to a model of blood flow.

Physics & Technology:

On the right, a case filled with past "innovative technology" from Moshe Tenne's collection

Convex/concave mirrors for the hallways for creative thinking:

Other programs also use the center including:
After school enrichment programs for elementary school students.

An all-day new regional gifted program for children in the top one percent and an after school program for youth in the top 5 %, which began last fall for 4th graders and which will add 5th graders this year. Talia has generously allowed them the use of the full center for all day Tuesday and the use of one wall per classroom to display the children's projects.

NET@, a program for selected high school youth which combines training in computers and communications, tto enable them to gain experience in leading hi-tech companies, together with the gaining of social values such as excellence, individual and group responsibility, leadership, pluralism, multiculturalism, democracy, and contribution and commitment to the community. It was was established in 2003 by the Tapuah Non-Profit Organization, the Jewish Agency, Keren Hayesod and Cisco Systems to reach out to youth outside the main urban areas of Israel.

The center has teachers in Astronomy and physics from Ben Gurion University, with which the center has a strong relationship. The university has lent the center a sun telescope. Four times a year about 200 youth from the school to the the university for programs. The 7th--9th graders go for Astronomy and the 10th--12th graders attend Physics programs.

Talia wishes to find funds to install an elevator. One student at AMAL1 High School is handicapped and cannot make it up the stairs on her own, so there is a strong need for an elevator. Talia is not sure if other high school students have chosen not to take science because of physical disabilities.

Talia also hopes for funding for a chemistry lab. Many high schools in Israel do not teach Chemistry. She hopes in the future the center can offer chemistry to the AMAL1 students. One big wish is to build a third floor to house more labs and a lecture room in order to accomadate the growing number of students in town who now want to study science.

Talia was especially proud that a group of 9th graders from AMAL taking science at the center won a national technological competition sponsored by the Technion. They created a program to aid the physically handicapped.

We also loved to see a Hoopoe, the national bird of Israel, and her baby in the area outside the center.

No comments: