Latest START! News
Project START! Going National
Project START (Students, Teachers, and Researchers Teach) Science! is a Yeshiva University student-led program that brings college students into public school classrooms to lead hands-on lessons in science. START began in a single public school classroom. Since then, it has expanded to several classes spread throughout three public schools. Six to eight college volunteers teach in each of the classrooms each week, and the classes themselves are split into groups of three or four students, allowing highly personalized instruction. The high ratio of START volunteers to students lets all the students participate in these activities and discuss the scientific content with college-age scientists. This focused attention develops more scientific interest and intuition than a regular classroom lecture.
Currently directed by Talya Laufer (Stern ‘13) and Gilad Barach (YC ‘14), START operates under the guidance of its faculty advisor, Dr. Raji Viswanathan, and with the help and support of many other members of Yeshiva University’s faculty. START is “driven by the excitement, eagerness and motivation” of over 200 Yeshiva College and Stern student volunteers, stressed Laufer, and that is what led to the “overwhelmingly positive feedback from the principals, teachers, students, parents, and volunteers involved,” continued START’s co-founder, Yair Saperstein (YC ‘12, Einstein MD ‘16).
Every START module focuses on one topic from a variety of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)-related fields: biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, health, and neuroscience. Module leaders spend hours before each lesson planning the science content and presentation. Most of all, START volunteers emphasize the hands-on activities which develop students’ intuition of the scientific principles taught. Favorite modules include building roller coasters to demonstrate conversion of mechanical energy, dissecting sheep hearts to study their anatomy, building gumdrop and toothpick bridges to test mechanical strength, and constructing circuits to learn about the flow of electricity.
Although it has so far been focused in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York, in the backyard of Yeshiva University’s Wilf Campus, START is now expanding to a broader stage. “Our goal is for START to grow and inspire countless students to question the world around them using science as their lens,” said Chanokh Berenson (YC ‘13), START’s Social Media director. In February 2012, the American Chemical Society's Magazine publicized START to a national audience, which drew the interest of students in the University of Iowa, who plan to begin a START branch in their community. START is also planning to expand to other universities in the coming months.
START is now a contender in the Dell Social Innovation Challenge, a competition with over $350,000 in prizes and awards for “young social innovators who dedicate themselves to solving the world's most pressing problems with their transformative ideas.” START hopes to win the Challenge to spread its goal and provide new affiliate branches with money to purchase materials for their own operation.
To register and vote to support START in the Dell Challenge, go to:
The START team includes: Yair Saperstein (YC ‘12, Einstein MD ‘16), Menachem Spira (YC ‘12, Einstein biomedical researcher), Ari Cuperfain (YC ‘13), David Sweet (YC ‘12, Einstein MD ‘16), Gilad Barach (YC ‘13),Talya Laufer (Stern ‘13), Chanokh Berenson (YC ‘13), Isaac Attia (YC ‘13), , Steven Lowinger (YC ‘13), and Shimon Farber (YC ‘12, RIETS ‘16), Peter Kahn (YC ‘11 RIETS ‘12 Einstein MD ‘16), Steven Goldfeder (YC ‘12), Ayelet Bersson (Stern ‘13), Eli Grunblatt (YC ‘14), Sarina Miller (Stern ‘14), Estee Robin (Stern ‘14), Chana Weinstock (Stern ‘13), Yaakov Tuchman (YC ‘14), Elia Rackovsky (YC ‘13), Ike Levine YC ‘12, Batya Gounder (Stern ‘13), Josh Fluss (YC ‘13).
On October 18, 2013, Project START began in the University of Zimbabwe.
With sixteen excited, dedicated, and devoted volunteers, the team, led by Knowledge Chikundi, is set to transform the education system of Zimbabwe. For more info, please visit our page titled "START International."
Project START! Going International
Project START! Now in The Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Project START! has partnered with Einstein's EiSci to provide modules to schools in the Bronx. We currently have over thirty volunteers and are excited to bring this partnershup to its fruitful reality. Our first module was DNA Extraction, and the kids loved it and really understood the concepts.
During study breaks in their first year at Einstein, Yair Saperstein and Peter Kahn—now second-year medical students—decided to work on something simple: changing the world.
"We were study buddies and, whenever we took a break, we would discuss our ideas," explained Mr. Saperstein.
Second-year medical students Yair Saperstein and Peter Kahn prepare an educational moduleOne day, the focus of their discussion turned to Project START! Science, a volunteer teaching program Mr. Saperstein had co-founded with other undergraduate students while attending Yeshiva University (YU). "START" stands for "Students, Teachers and Researchers Teach" and, through the program, groups of YU students are organized to teach hands-on science in public schools.
"During one of our discussions, we decided we would expand the program internationally," said Mr. Kahn.
Project START! Aims to Excite Youngsters about Science
Check us out on Verb U
START! Makes Strides: Featured in the Manhattan Times
New Science Labs: Featured on NYI
Hands-on Science Program comes to Toronto Schools
Since York University student Leedan Co- hen brought the Project START Science Canada program to students at Driftwood Public School in October, she’s been work- ing on expanding its reach to other schools in the Greater Toronto Area.
Cohen, a 21-year-old biology student who moved to Toronto last summer after two years at Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women in New York, said after having been involved with Project START in New York, where it was founded, she was eager to build a Canadian chapter in Toronto.
“The program is completely free of charge, and the goal is to send in university students, whether they are science majors or educa- tion majors, psychology majors, whatever it may be, and going into these classrooms and trying to teach the students a hands-on science lesson,” Cohen explained.
Project START! Engages Young Students in Science Experiments
Learning about polymers and the human nervous system turned out to be a lot of fun for a group of Grade 5 students at Driftwood Public School.
“It’s awesome,” said Michelle Huynh, as she took part in a hands-on experiment to make a rubber ball while learning about what polymers are and how they work. “It’s really fun.”
Michelle and her classmates also got to make “slime,” just another interactive science lesson courtesy of Project START! (Students, Teachers And Researchers Teach) Science Canada, launched this past October by York University biology student Leedan Cohen.
“Many public schools can’t afford labs,” said Cohen, who first got involved with Project START! when she took undergraduate courses in the United States.
When Cohen returned to Canada, she send out emails to see if any schools would be interested in participating in the innovative program.
Yair Saperstein knew he was on the right track when he opened his e-mail inbox one day last January. As president of the outreach committee within the ACS student chapter at Yeshiva University (YU) in New York City, Saperstein had sent out an e-mail request to the student body at YU to participate in an educational outreach activity at a local intermediate school during the spring of 2011.
“I expected to get maybe six or seven responses,” recalls Saperstein, “and ended up with an enormous amount of replies — about 70.” Soon the chapter had a virtual army of people who wanted to help.
How the Yeshiva University ACS Student Chapter Developed a Successful Middle School Outreach Program
Cardozo Law Clinic in collaboration with START Science
Cardozo Law Clinic will be working with START Science to Incorporate as a Non-For-Profit Incorporation!
An Opportunity at Intel
The Zimbabwe Science Fair, and the outgrowth of START is very excited to be sending a student to Intel this year!
You can read more about the amazing work of these innovative students in this article: Zimbabwe: growing by leaps and bounds
New Semester of START!
The new year has kicked off with a bang! Having recently completed the process of incorporating as non-for-profit incorporation, with the help of the Cardozo Law Clinic, START is poised to grow and continue inspiring the future. START is currently operating strongly out of 5 unique branches, and aims to develop further in the months to come. Stay tuned for more exciting news!
Excitement at START!
START Science! is going strong this semester. Around the world, new modules are being created in all fields of science from music to neurology! START is beginning to expand to other college campuses to spread the love of the incredible power of STEM to more and more students.