Science Research Program

THE OVERVIEW OF THE SCIENCE RESEARCH PROGRAM

This program affords students the opportunity to participate in the community of scientific research and scholarship as part of their high school experience.  It furthers excellence in performance and achievement, while drawing from and developing scientific capabilities in a broad spectrum of the student body.  Students taking the course accomplish the following skills:

  • Students choose and explore a topic of interest.  The topic may come from mathematics, physical science, life science, social science or psychology.

  • They develop skills in using the Internet’s electronic mail capabilities and conduct on-line bibliographic searches of international databases.

Students find and study several journal articles, eventually choosing one which they will present to the class.  Their presentation to the class emphasizes how research described in the article was conducted.  Thus, it makes the scientific method, which is the essence of the course, explicit for the student and the class.  The elements of this method always include:

  • A review of literature
  • A statement of the hypothesis or the problem
  • Methodology
  • A presentation and analysis of results
  • Conclusions
  • Bibliographic work and footnotes

Students prepare a statement of what they intend to study based on their bibliographic research.

Students contact the author of the journal article they studied.  They ask for suggestions for future research that they might undertake.  They ask the scientist to serve as a mentor or to help them find an appropriate scientist mentor to assist them in carrying out a research project in their area of interest.

Students then engage in an original piece of research under the guidance of their scientist mentor and their classroom research teacher.  The classroom teacher meets with individuals and the research class on a regular basis.  The students communicate with scientist mentors, wherever they are, using electronic mail capabilities.

Students conduct statistical analyses using appropriate statistical computer software.  Students make presentations of their findings to their class, their school district, and at regional and statewide symposia.  Their presentations are based on the scientific protocol listed above and incorporate visual presentation techniques (e.g. Microsoft PowerPoint).

All steps in the student’s progress are carefully and systematically monitored to assure that students engage in each phase of scientific research and have attained desired capabilities.

Science Research - 4740

Grades 10, 11, 12 (exceptional students in grade 9)

Prerequisites:

Recommendation from a previous Science teacher.

Maintain at least an 85 average.

Grade of 85 or better in previous Science Courses.

Simultaneous enrollment in another Science course when participating.

This three-year Honors level course offers students the opportunity to conduct original scientific research under the guidance of a research scientist. This course is open to all students who have demonstrated a commitment to conduct independent research during the school year, as well as the summer. Students are required to conduct independent research outside of class each week, to meet weekly or bi-weekly for assessment and mentorship with their science research teacher, and to present at local, regional, and/or national scientific competitions, such as Intel and Siemens Westinghouse. In addition to possibly having their work published, and competing for prize money and scholarships, students may receive 12 transferable college credits from the University at Albany through the University in the High School program.

The Science Research Program will consist of several parts roughly corresponding to your year in the program

Year I-Do a literature search on a wide variety of topics that you are interested in.  Narrow down your topics, and construct a loose-leaf notebook of source articles on each topic.  Present articles in round table discussions in class.  Finally pick one topic and develop a hypothesis.  Conduct your first experiments to present at the Symposium. Enter Exploravision and other contests.

Year II Focus your literature search on one specific topic.  Find out which experiments you can do and which you can’t do at home or school.  Seek out an outside mentor who will allow you to do research in their institution. Finally develop a “sample grant” outlining the research that you want to do. Send the sample grant to professors that you are interested in working with.  All students must contact outside mentors and apply to summer programs

YearII/III-Conduct experiments at home, school, or at your mentor’s site.  (Junior/Senior Year)

Year IV-Have you collected data which answers whether your hypothesis is true or not?  If so, you might want to stop and analyze your data.  Is it statistically significant? Was your sample size large enough? Is the number of repetitions sufficient?  If so-go on to the next stage, prepare a poster documenting your study that will be suitable for presentation to your peers at other high schools when you compete in a science talent search. (Junior/Senior Year)