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Patterns in Nature
By Mr. Michael T. Roche and Ms. Sarah Gross

Why does the world look the way it does? Why are there ripples in the sand, spirals in a seashell, and varying shades of blues and greens in a peacock feather?  From spirals to waves, grains of sand to butterfly wings, patterns in nature surround us.  The Patterns in Nature course uses natural patterns, from symmetry to waves, trees to bubbles, cracks to spots, to introduce students to different branches of science that interact with the natural world.  The course will welcome a number of scientists and teachers throughout the semester, providing students with the opportunity to investigate patterns in physics, biology, chemistry, environmental, and other branches of science. The course will culminate in a student-directed project drawing on the areas that are of the most interest to you. We will challenge you to use color, light, form, shape, shadow, and pattern to create and capture ephemeral, natural patterns and document your work with digital photography.

The course will be led by two High Technology High School faculty members, Mr. Michael T. Roche and Ms. Sarah Mulhern Gross. 

Mr. Michael T. Roche 
Science Faculty

High Technology High School

Mr. Roche is a research advisor and biology teacher at High Technology High School, located on the campus of Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, NJ.  He was recently honored with a Siemens Founders Award and fellowship that allowed him to work with a materials science research team at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.  Mr. Roche earned a B.S. in Environmental Science from Rutgers University and an M.A. in Environmental Studies from Montclair University.  He has served as a Director for the National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science and Technology (NCSSSMST) and is the recipient of numerous grants and awards for excellence in science teaching.  Many of his summers have been spent in residence with students involved in environmental research projects, most recently serving as lead resident teacher for the first Joint Science and Technology Institute held in Aberdeen, Maryland.  In his spare time, Mr. Roche enjoys juggling, reading and creating rhythmic sounds with a variety of musical instruments.


Ms. Sarah Gross
English Faculty
High Technology High School

Mrs. Gross is an English teacher at High Technology High School, located on the campus of Brookdale Community College in Lincroft.  She was selected as Teacher of the Year in January, 2013 and was the NJ Council of Teachers of  English Teacher of the Year in 2014. She achieved her National Board Certification and is a contributor to The NYTimes Learning Network Blog.  Mrs. Gross sits on the advisory board of curiousScienceWriters, a program designed to help students become science communicators.  She has a love of science, and is a member of the Monarch Teacher Network, through which she received a fellowship that gave her the opportunity to study the monarch butterflies in Michoacan, Mexico.   In December 2017 she will receive her Master's of Arts in Teaching Biology from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.  In her free time, she enjoys hiking, therapy dog work, and lure coursing with her two Australian Shepherds, as well as supporting the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.