Junior Science Research


Fall Semester

Fall Meetings for Juniors

Check the big calendar on midwoodscience.org often. Individual, team, or small group meetings are the way business gets done. Large group meetings are rare. Keep your supervising teacher up to date on your progress. Do not hesitate to tell us of problems. Above all, do not miss your appointments. They count significantly toward your grade.

  1. September
  2. October
    1. First meeting
    2. Second meeting
  3. November
    1. First meeting (only meeting)
      • Research plan
  4. December
    1. First meeting
      • Research plan
    2. Second meeting
      • Research plan
  5. January
    1. Exit meeting (only meeting)
      • t.b.d.


Assignment 0: Official Documents

Getting Started

Assignment 1: Resume

Make a resume that would work for a high school student looking for an internship in a university, government, or private institution that does scientific research. Search the internet for examples of resumes and copy the organization and style of one you think will work for you. Try to fill a single page with relevant information about your academic background, work and volunteer experience, skills, and accomplishments. Keep descriptions clear and concise. Submit a single page PDF to Google Classroom by Wednesday, September 23, 2020. Final drafts are due Friday, October 23, 2020 [?].

Assignment 2: Scientific Interests

Share any 3 resources that would reveal to me a scientific idea that you find interesting, inspiring, or intriguing. It could be a quote, an image, a video, a scientific principle, a working scientist, a historical scientist — anything with a location on the internet that I could follow up on. The resources can be united by a theme or be quirky and disjointed. In general, they should be something that makes you say, "I wanna do something like that".

You will do this assignment twice.

  1. The first time you do this assignment the resources can be united by a theme or be quirky and disjointed. In general, they should be something that makes you say, "I wanna do something like that". This is meant to be a brainstorming activity, so there is no way you can do it wrong. That does not mean you should not take it seriously. Submit a single PDF to Google Classroom by 9:00 AM, Tuesday, September 29. Save the file as last name, first name, scientific interests (e.g., Doe, Jane, scientific interests).
  2. The second time you do this assignment it should be focused on a single field in science, and preferably on a single concept. In general it should be something that makes you say, "I think I can make this into a project I could work on for the rest of my junior year, and maybe even into senior year". You will not be forced to stick with anything you propose for this assignment. (Flexibility is a virtue.) But you should consider getting focused as soon as possible. (Procrastination is not a virtue.) Submit a single PDF to Google Classroom by 9:00 AM, Tuesday, October 13. Save the file as last name, first name, scientific interests 2 (e.g., Doe, Jane, scientific interests 2).

Assignment 3: Cover Letter

Write a "cover letter" that would be appropriate for a high school student looking for a mentor to work for as an intern/volunteer or looking for a mentor that you would like to give you guidance on a project that you are developing. Write a letter that is appropriate to your interests or goals. Write this letter even if you already have a mentor now. Write this letter whether or not you intend to work with a mentor this year. Everyone will do this assignment. Please note that even though this assignment is described as a "letter" it is actually an email. You are not going to be putting pen to paper for this assignment.

Compose a cover letter where you address the following questions:

  1. Who are you?
  2. What do you want?

After your signature, please include a postscript (P.S.) where you indicate whether you already have a mentor, are looking for a mentor, or are not looking for a mentor. If you have a mentor or would like me to review a potential mentor(s) for you, include a link to one of their faculty or laboratory webpages. Do not give me any links to pages on Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Google Scholar, etc. Mentors do not need to work for institutions in New York City. They can be anywhere on the planet where the time difference between them and New York City is not excessive.

Email your cover letter to elert@midwoodscience.org by 9:00 AM, Thursday, October 22 at the absolute latest (plain text with no attachments). Put RESEARCH HW 3 in the subject line. This directs it to the correct mailbox and keeps it from getting lost. You will not submit this assignment to Google Classroom.

Formulating a Project

Assignment 4: Research Plan

A research plan is a succinct detailing of the rationale, research question, methodology, and risks of a research project that should be completed prior to the start of any experimental research. You will prepare a research plan during the fall semester for a project that you could conceivably start (and hopefully finish) in the spring semester. Since situations can change without warning, you will not be penalized if you do not perform this exact project next semester. You are only describing a possibility right now.

You are not expected to write a complete research plan in one shot. You will submit 3 drafts of this assignment and receive feedback on each draft. You are expected to act on this feedback and refine and expand your research plan over time. The final draft will be due Tuesday, January 5, 2021 and will be graded. (A rubric is in the works.)

Students who are part of a team are expected to each write a separate and complete research plan. No copypasta! The separate plans can be about different aspects of the same project or they can be about different projects in the same general field. Teams can have a maximum of 3 members.

A research plan consists of the following parts:

  1. Rationale

    Provide a brief synopsis of the background research that supports your hypothesis or motivates your scientific question or engineering goal and explain why this research is important. Include at least 5 citations from high value sources. Anything with a DOI is probably good. Additional citations from lower value sources are also OK. Do not cite Wikipedia, WebMD, Google, "some people", "many people", "they", etc. No "click bait" references either. This part is typically 2 to 3 pages long.

  2. Hypothesis / Research Question / Engineering Goal ← CHOOSE ONE

    State your hypothesis / research question / engineering goal. State it in a way so that it logically follows from the background research described in your rationale. This typically requires 1 to 3 sentences.

  3. Methods
    1. Procedure

      Describe your experimental design including all procedures for gathering data. If your procedure was influenced by any previously performed experiments, you must cite your sources. All images, diagrams, renderings, drawings, flowcharts, photographs, etc. must be original. If you absolutely need to use an image produced by someone else, you must cite your source. This part is typically 1 to 2 pages long.

    2. Analysis

      Describe the analytical methods you will use to test your hypothesis / answer your research question / decide if you have reached your engineering goal. This part is typically 1 page long.

    3. Risk Assessment

      All students must provide an assessment of risk with techniques to minimize this risk. Categories of risk include, but are not limited to, human subjects; vertebrate animals; potentially hazardous biological agents; hazardous chemicals, activities or devices. If you believe there are no risks associated with your project, you must explain why you are making this claim. Very few projects have zero risk associated with them. This part is typically 1 to 3 paragraphs long.

  4. References
    • Follow A.P.A. formatting. Include DOIs or URLs (never both) as applicable. Be sure that URLs do not include tracking code. Provide at least 5 references. (Image references do not count towards this total.) This part should be single spaced with hanging indents (also known as outdents) and a blank space between entries. Entries should be sorted alphabetically by author. The paragraphs after this are sample entries for a journal article, YouTube video, book, and newspaper article.
    • Ahn, J. H., Hu, Y., Hernandez, M., & Kim, J. R. (2011). Crocetin inhibits beta-amyloid fibrillization and stabilizes beta-amyloid oligomers. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 414(1), 79-83. doi:10.1016/j.bbrc.2011.09.025
    • Cowern, Dianna. (2020). Friction - Physics 101/Ap Physics 1 Review with Dianna Cowern. Retrieved October 14, 2020, from https://youtu.be/fCe6UyNyPTg
    • Myers, D. G. (2011). Myers' psychology for AP. New York, NY: Worth.
    • Sims, W. (1920, January 16). The Moon Rocket.: Admiral Sims Explains Its Action In a Vacuum. New York Times, p. 8. Retrieved October 14, 2020, from https://www.nytimes.com/1920/01/16/archives/the-moon-rocket-admiral-sims-explains-its-action-in-a-vacuum.html

Adapted from the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) rules and guidelines.

Lab Log Format

Weighting and Extra Credit Requirements

Fall Lab Logs

Extra Credit

STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering, Math

Public Lecture

Attend an approved STEM lecture

Possible Lectures

Competitions and Events

Participate in STEM competitions or attend STEM special events.

Last Updated 2 September 2019.