On August 8th, Bio Bus and it’s students came to Pace University to learn about and experiment with microplastics. The first activity was to study the impact of toxic consumer products on plant growth. Student groups exposed the plants to substances such as Tylenol and Windex, and put the plants on their sides to test the effects of heliotropism and gravitropism on the plants. By comparing to a control group, the students were able to measure the heliotropic growth of each plant to show how much effect the consumer products had on the plants’ ability to thrive. Some of the preliminary results of the test showed that the microplastics did impair the growth of the plants; they did not show the heliotropic growth as seen in the control group.
In another activity, Ms Jennifer Chambers from Schrödinger worked with the students to create various digital molecular structures.
In my role as film-maker, I interviewed Ms Ashley Pirovano from Bio Bus to discuss the importance of this collaboration to provide students with the opportunity to work with scientists on real, high-level research projects.
On August 9th, after the first round of events, the students presented all their experiments from the week to their parents and other guests at the Bio Bus Base.
I filmed these day’s events, focusing on the students conducting their tests and creating molecules. With the help of Pace Alum, Rudra Persaud, we filmed all the activities at Pace and interviewed many of the participants.
I’m now putting together all the footage of the event to create a 6-minute promotional video about the Bio Bus project for Pace highlighting the collaboration among industries, non-profits, and higher education. Logging the footage and syncing the audio with every interview are detailed and time-consuming tasks. So far, I’ve gone through over five hours of footage and selected the most important explanations and the best reactions. Part of the learning experience for me has been sorting out the most informative clips for what is a relatively short video.
Overall, this was an interesting and valuable project for me. As a filmmaker and observer, I was able to see the scientific research process at work, at the same time, shari in some of the experiences the first-time student researchers were having. It was fun to witness the students’ enthusiasm and excitement over the projects they were involved with. They were learning science by doing science, and they were contributing to our understanding of the impact of plastics on our environment. This is an important learning experience for all involved. I am thankful that I have had the opportunity to be a part of it.