By Collin Randza
This year’s GATE program is off to a fun and exciting start thanks to Mr. Reagle’s creativity.
Mr. Reagle is a former science teacher who inspires his students to try new and challenging things. Gate students do projects, complete labs, and participate in contests, all while having fun with similarly-minded kids. We have already learned about many interesting things.
One of the first lessons learned was about praying mantises. Mr. Reagle rescued one and provided it mantis with a comfortable habitat in the GATE room. We studied “Gwen” until safely releasing her back into the wild. Taking advantage of learning opportunities is a big part of GATE.
GATE students have also learned about global pandemics. To do this, we played a board game where a virus was infecting people everywhere. We worked as a team to try and beat the spreading virus. Players had to eliminate wooden board pieces that symbolized virus spread. An “epidemic” card could affect large areas of the board. The game was set up so we could all win or lose. There were also “super spreader” players who worked against everyone else. Each game took about 40 minutes and was a great bonding experience.
We also helped fill a fish tank up with water which Mr. Reagle filled with glofish. The glofish were so cool; they would glow under the lights because they are actually infused with a jellyfish’s color. They are the only scientifically engineered animal humans can have as a pet.
Mr. Reagle’s also taught us about artificial meat. We all know that there are the “impossible” burgers made of vegetables, but the meat we learned about was made from using real chicken cells. The meat was grown in a lab until it formed muscle tissue and fat. From there, it was edible meat. The people in the video ate the lab-grown chicken with the chicken that supplied the cells walking around them.
Another experiment required us to use swabs and trays to examine the bacteria and germs on everything. We have a huge list of things on the board that we eventually plan to swab. The objective is to see how clean or dirty these things are. These items tested included old well water and the inside of the water bottle. Other things swabbed were saliva, a dead bug, the floor, shoes, and hair. We even tested the “5-second rule” with a chocolate bar.
We also have a rock tumbler which essentially polishes rocks and makes them beautiful and shows their true forms. Some of my friends have brought in rocks that they wanted to be polished. It takes a little over a month for the rocks to be perfectly clean, but it truly is an amazing process, like the other things we do in GATE.