TICONDEROGA Ticonderoga Middle School eighth grade students recently participated in the Minds On program on Earth Advocacy at the Queensbury Hotel in Glens Falls. Rensselaerville Institute sponsored the workshops. Schools from all over the Glens Falls area met to discuss environmental topics. Students were divided up into groups that represented towns in a county, explained Janet Mallon, Ti biology teacher. Each town was given a set of choices that affected the town, surrounding towns, and their environment. Each town was also given a budget to invest in improving the land, air quality, and water quality. The group then made a graph to show the effects of the choices impacting human health, air quality, water quality, and biodiversity. One representative from each town became a member of a county board, she continued. The board had to decide from a set of choices which choice would benefit the towns as a whole. Options were discussed and the group tried to reach a consensus. Our class feels this workshop was worthwhile because we got to work with different Glens Falls area school groups about issues that are affecting the earth today, Mallon added. It was difficult to make decisions on how money should be spent, and it was difficult to convince other members of our town to decide on the best choices possible. We had to stretch our critical thinking skills to come up with workable solutions. Eighth grade students on the trip included Chris Burns, Corey King, Will Lawrie, Nate Lenhart, Kyrstie McGuire, Emilee Namer, Brandon Russell, Harley Trudeau, Nathaniel Turner and Allen Zhang. Eight students from seventh grade Ticonderoga Middle School biology classes also participated in the DNA workshop in Glens Falls, sponsored by the Rensselaerville Institute. Students learned about the structure and components of DNA, who discovered its structure and when, and techniques used to separate the components of DNA. Activities included making a paper DNA chain; paper chromatography; squishing a banana and extracting its DNA; and using gel electrophoresis to separate out dyes according to density. A mock crime scene was given to the students, and using the gel electrophoresis equipment, the students had to determine who committed the crime, Mallon said. All students were actively engaged the whole day. They had the opportunity to interact with other students from schools in the Glens Falls area.