Thermo Fisher Scientists Teach Sharon's Heights Students About Pollution

A physical fitness lesson next year will be inspired by the scientists' recent demonstration.

A physical fitness lesson in the gymnasium next year will be inspired by a recent science lesson.

Three Thermo Fisher Scientific scientists, including its chief scientist, showed Heights students to identify various pollutants, said Andrew Amrhein, the Franklin firm's director of information technology, global strategy execution.

The lesson was a warm-up of sorts to a physical fitness one next fall or spring, involving measuring the carbon dioxide in the gym, Heights physical education teacher Tim Vigorito said.

Carbon dioxide meters will record the CO2 level before students exercise, and "then after 10 minutes of exercise and deep breathing, how much more carbon dioxide they've generated in the gym," he said.

"The kids will see first hand the difference that science makes," said Vigorito, Sharon Public Schools health and wellness facilitator.

The recent pollution lesson "was a great intro. Plus, it opened the door. We got a little sense of what Thermo Fisher has to offer, as far as what they do," he said.

Vigorito said his goal is to tie the topic into the physical education curriculum, and "long range, with NASA, and what does NASA do with testing air pollution. Or, what type of things can we do."

This winter, Sharon third, fourth and fifth-graders were part of Team USA in Mission X: Train Like An Astronaut, a six-week, international fitness and nutrition challenge, thanks to Vigorito

Amrhein initiated the connection between Thermo Fisher and Heights.

He said he was at Heights visiting his Kindergartener, coming to the gym because she was in gym class.

"I saw all the science stuff that Mr. V. has with NASA. And I said, 'Gee, we have some of our really top scientists just down the road in Franklin,'" Amrhein said.

Amrhein said he spoke with some people at his company "about building a program here for the kids, so they get a chance to make it real."

During the recent presentation, to Kindergarteners to second graders, and to third- and fourth-graders, the three scientists demonstrated air quality and discuss various types of pollution -- dust, gas and noise pollution -- and how to reduce and measure them, he said.

The scientists "showed, using light, how you can see particulate pollution," Amrhein said.

"Several teachers said their kids were just transfixed the whole time."


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