Students tinker with strawberries and S.T.E.M

Brayden Southern

Sugar Beet staff reporter

Students tinker with their scientific understandings in a new way outside of the classroom during the ‘Tinker Workshop.’ This workshop offered a more hands on and visual approach to teaching students about molecules, specifically biochemical molecules. A biochemical molecules by definition are the molecules that build all living things. Instead of students sitting through a lecture over these molecules, they were offered the chance to attend the Tinker Workshop where they would be able to build models of these molecules. In particular the workshop extracted DNA and replicated the strands. A beaker of DNA was taken and examined were sourced from various fruits, such as strawberries, peaches, raspberries and blackberries.

The workshop was organized and executed by numerous teachers from throughout all academies at Garden City High School. Mr. Morrison, Mr. Cruz, Mr. Drubinskiy and Ms. Alfeo are only a few of the instructors that volunteered their time and knowledge to the students that attended the workshop. The teachers involved are not limited to strictly science, nor is the future of the tinker workshop.

Cody Morrison, a Freshman biology teacher said, “Yes, we are planning to have more workshops. Next week we have Mr. Cruz is doing bridge building and testing the stability of the bridges the participants build. And as for the future of the tinker lab we’re trying to get it set up to where students can go and try new things. We have a cricket so that they can go and create visual designs, we already also have a 3D printer and 3D pens; and we’re working on getting green screens, virtual reality and other fun tech to play with and interest kids.”

The tinker workshop is a “S.T.E.M.” effort, the acronym S.T.E.M. stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. Thus the spanning fields of knowledge between the teachers involved, all the way from Mr. Morrison the biology teacher to Mr. Cruz the physics teacher to Mr. Drubinskiy a math teacher.

The ideal future of the tinker workshop is to be set up to where students can go in to the library on Tuesdays after the school day ends and get to experiment with the technology, and then the following day meet up after the three o’ clock bell and have an activity pertaining to the teacher’s expertise using the technology provided and thinking skills possessed by the student.

Lesly Orozco, a freshman that attended the workshop, said,

“I went to the tinker workshop because really I’m just interested in science; and my dad works in this field which interests me. Since this was the first workshop we really just worked on things we kind of already knew, and then we extracted DNA strands from strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and peaches but we focused on the strawberry’s DNA because it was the most visible and we built small models of the DNA.”

The models were made out of pipe cleaners and various other materials that could imitate parts of a DNA molecule.

Noah Longoria, another freshman that took part in the tinker workshop, said,

“The activity was more of an individual effort, which I really liked because I got to choose whatever I wanted from what was laid out for us. It was much more laid back than being in a classroom setting where we would go over every single little detail, it was more of just an experiment where got to just hang out and have fun but still learn something.”

The first Tinker workshop took place after school on Wednesday, October 3 and the next is scheduled in the library after school on Wednesday, October 10.

Brayden Southern is a junior in the Health Academy, you can contact him at

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