15 Sep 2014
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Inspiring Students with Unusual Metallic Elements

Dozens gathered for Briarcliff Manor Education Foundation's second Grants In Action Demo night.

Since incorporated in 1995, the Briarcliff Manor Education Foundation (BMEF) has awarded $1 million , providing resources to students at all grade levels in the .

To share the positive impact these grants have offered, BMEF kicked off its series of Grants in Action demonstration nights  to give people in the community an opportunity to see what students are learning in the classroom.

“The Grants in Action Demo Nights are a wonderful way for the BMEF to reach out to the community and to be able to show, in a tangible way, how the Foundation enhances our children’s education,” said Liz Susman Karp, a member of the Grants Committee since 2007. “Donating to the BMEF really does provide the opportunity for innovative educational opportunities for our children that they would not have otherwise.”

Tuesday was this year’s second Grants in Action Demo night, showcasing ‘Unusual Metallic Elements’ offered by Chemistry teacher Dr. Robert Saar and some of his devoted students. Those in attendance were treated to a mini science fair, with Saar’s students manning the stations and answering people’s questions.

Prior to receiving the grant, Saar found a website that sold unusual elements and picked some metals that the school did not already have in its collection.

“We came up with a reasonable total cost and put in a grant application justifying what’s interesting about each metal,” explained Saar.

The BMEF Grant he received bought over a dozen metals, which are now used in his classroom and were on display at the fair.

What makes the metals unusual, according to Saar, is that you don’t usually see these metals by themselves. Tungsten, for example, has historically been used as lighting filaments. Other uses also include electrodes, electronic contacts and tungsten alloys, among others. 

But in its pure form, Tungsten is an extremely dense metal, 19.3 times that of water. now owns a 2-inch by 0.7-inch Tungsten cylinder weighing in at 1000 grams (or 2.2 pounds), thanks to the grant.

Other metallic elements purchased with the grant include low melting metals, such as Indium, which is used in fire sprinkler systems; Neodymium, used in super strong permanent magnets; and Lanthanum, used to enhance the output and color of fluorescent light bulbs.

A third Grants in Action Night is being planned for , which will take place this spring.

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