Is it a crab? Is it a spider? Why is it jiggling so much?
The questions came rapid-fire as fifth-graders at Roosevelt School in Ossining looked at samples of pond water under a powerful microscope in the BioBus, a vehicle that travels throughout New York City and the metropolitan region to expose children to scientific exploration and discovery and spark interest in STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and math. Two buses, with two labs in each, were parked behind the school from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on October 25, Regeneron’s Day of Doing Good. The biotechnology firm and Volunteer NY partnered with the BioBus to make the visit possible. Nearly 30 Regeneron staff members came to Roosevelt.
Students observed a translucent creature with a fast-beating heart and legs partly housed in its shell in the pond water.
“It’s so closely related to shrimp and crabs,” BioBus scientist Mollie Thurman said. “It is called a Daphnia.”
On another microscope, students saw fly larvae, creatures that looked like worms or little snakes – one was yellowish, another was red.
“We want kids to see a scientist and say, ‘I met a scientist,’” said Courtney Williams, a scientist in Regeneron’s oncology department. “If you don’t know that [the career] exists, you’re not going to become [one].”