Junior Science Research Projects
- The first goal of this class is to help students find volunteer positions in academic, government, non-profit or commercial labs where they will participate in scientific, technological, engineering, or mathematical research with a mentor. Projects typically take from 5 to 15 months to complete and end over the summer or during the first two months of senior year.
- The second goal of this class is to help students acquire the skills needed to be successful in the scientific competitions that occur in senior year. Students will be given assignments that align with the requirements of the Intel Science Talent Search (Intel STS), New York City Science and Engineering Fair (NYCSEF), St. Joseph's College High School Poster Session, Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology, Google Science Fair, Brooklyn College Science Day, and others.
- Grades are based partly on how much you do (the more things you try, the better your grade will be) and partly how well you do them (the better your work is, the better your grade will be) Every month spent working in a lab is worth one extra point toward your final grade. Important dates are in red. There are many extra credit opportunities. Students who fulfill the nominal class requirements will receive a grade of 85% (G) in the 1st marking period, 90% in the 2nd marking period, and 95% for the semester. See grades-sd5r.pdf and grades-sd6r.pdf for more information.
Spring Meetings for Juniors
Check the 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.
- Entrance meeting on the first day of the semester in room A219. Everyone attends.
- First meeting
- Second meeting (only meeting)
- First meeting
- Second meeting
- First meeting
- Second meeting
- NYCSEF Research Plan fourth draft
- First meeting
- PowerPoint first draft
- April lab log
- Application for Change to Weighted Research Course (1.05)
- Exit meeting
- May lab log
- Expectations for summer
Preparing for the Intel STS: Part II
Assignment 5: Intel STS Practice Application
Student Portion: Answer all relevant questions in this pdf form to the best of your ability. Save frequently and confirm that your answers have been saved. Do not print. Email the completed form to Mr. Elert before 11:59:59 PM Wednesday, February 4, 2015. Put RESEARCH HW 5 in the subject line. CC Ms. Sullivan and Ms. Mosley according to their instructions. We will discuss your answers at the first February meeting.
Mentor Portion: Show this letter to your mentor (the person in your lab who is most familiar with your research). Explain that you will be asking them to complete a similar set of questions online with a deadline in mid-November. Return the tear off signature line to your supervising teacher at your first meeting after Midwinter Break. Let your mentor keep the remainder of the letter for future reference.
Preparing for NYCSEF
Assignment 6: Visit NYCSEF
The New York City Science and Engineering Fair will be held
Sunday, March 6, 2016 at City College in Hamilton Heights, Manhattan. Juniors and Sophomores will attend from 2:00–4:00 PM during the public viewing period. Attendance is taken by photograph and signature. Look for the officially designated student monitor(s).
- Find 3 projects while public viewing is underway. Pick projects that you like or are interested in. Read some of the board on your own and interview the student(s) responsible.
- Record the project title and answer the following 4 questions.
Do not say, "My teacher made me come here. What's the answer to number 4?" or anything similar.
- What events or objects were studied?
- What data about these events or objects were collected?
- What conclusion did the student make?
- Why is this research important?
- Every student observer at NYCSEF is expected to interview a unique set of participants. There will be approximately 500 projects at this event, so there is no reason why there should be any overlap. If you go with a friend, the two of you must analyze different projects.
- Type up the responses to your interview questions and submit them to your supervising teacher on
Monday, March 7, 2016. Be prepared to discuss your visit at your next meeting.
Assignment 7: NYCSEF Practice Application
Overview: Participation in the New York City Science and Engineering Fair (NYCSEF) is required for all seniors in Science Research. The application packet consists of an astounding 29 pages of rules and guidelines and 21 pages of forms. The list below provides a link to a local copy of every document available from the NYCSEF website identified by page number.
- Rules and Guidelines
- Signature Page
- Student / Project Information
- Team Information
- Checklist for Adult Sponsor (1)
- Student Checklist (1A)
- Research Plan / Project Summary (4 parts)
- Official Project Abstract
- Approval Form (1B)
- Regulated Research Institutional / Industrial Setting Form (1C)
- Qualified Scientist Form (2)
- Risk Assessment Form (3)
- Human Participants Form (4)
- Human Informed Consent Form
- Vertebrate Animal Form (5A)
- Vertebrate Animal Form (5B)
- Potentially Hazardous Biological Agents Risk Assessment Form (6A)
- Human and Vertebrate Animal Tissue Form (6B)
- Continuation Projects Form (7)
- Additional Documentation
- IRB Approval (Institutional Review Board)
- SRC Approval (Scientific Review Board)
- IACUC Approval (Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee)
- IBC Approval (Institutional Biosafety Committee)
Student Portion: Review all 21 NYCSEF forms. Determine which of three basic categories each form belongs to …
- forms that are solely the responsibility of the student
- forms that must be reviewed by the mentor
- forms that do not apply to your specific project
Complete as much of this cover letter as you can, print it out, and bring it to your second February meeting. DO NOT GIVE IT TO YOUR MENTOR TO SIGN YET. Your supervising teacher needs to review it for accuracy first.
Mentor Portion: Print out the forms that you will ask your mentor to fill out next year. Arrange them in order, place the completed and approved cover letter on top, and staple the whole packet together. Deliver the packet to your mentor as soon as possible. Explain that you will be asking them to complete a similar packet of forms with a deadline in mid-December. Return the tear off signature line to your supervising teacher at your first meeting after Midwinter Break. Let your mentor keep the remainder of the cover letter and the attached forms for future reference.
Assignment 8: NYCSEF Research Plan / Project Summary
The project summary is a succinct detailing of the rationale, research questions, methodology and risks of your research project and should be completed PRIOR to the start of your experimental research. Submit your final draft to your supervising teacher on or before
Monday, May 2, 2016 [estimated].
- 500 words or less
What is the RATIONALE for your project? Please include a brief synopsis of the background research that supports your research problem and explain why this research is important scientifically and, if applicable, explain any potential societal impact of your research. Please include citations in your project rationale.
- 250 words or less
State your HYPOTHESIS(ES) / RESEARCH QUESTION(S) / ENGINEERING GOAL(S). Describe how your research question(s), hypothesis(es) and/or goal(s) build on the research described in your project rationale.
- 500 words or less
- Describe in detail your research methods and conclusions.
- Procedures/Data Collection: Detail experimental design, including all procedures used for data collection.
Be sure to describe in detail only those methods and procedures you (and your teammates) conducted, and not
those of your mentor, teacher, or from any other researcher.
- Data Analysis: Describe the procedures to be used to analyze your data and answer your research question(s).
- Be sure to address all questions in Part B that are relevant to your research project. PART B – ONLY For projects with:
- HUMAN SUBJECTS (See pages 7-9 of the Rules and Guidelines)
- Subjects. Describe who will participate in your study (age range, gender, racial/ethnic composition). Identify any vulnerable populations (minors, pregnant women, prisoners, mentally disabled or economically disadvantaged).
- Recruitment. Where will you find your subjects? How will they be invited to participate?
- Methods. What will participants be asked to do? Will you use any surveys, questionnaires or tests? What is the frequency and length of time involved for each subject? Please include a copy of the survey or questionnaire (if used) in the research study and provide information as to how the survey questions will inform the research project.
- Risks. What are the risks or potential discomforts (physical, psychological, time involved, social, legal etc) to participants? How will you minimize the risks?
- Benefits. List any benefits to society or each participant.
- Protection of Privacy. Will any identifiable information (e.g., names, telephone numbers, birth dates, email addresses) be collected? Will data be confidential or anonymous? If anonymous, describe how the data will be collected anonymously. If not anonymous, what procedures are in place for safeguarding confidentiality? Where will the data be stored? Who will have access to the data? What will you do with the data at the end of the study?
- Informed Consent Process. Describe how you will inform participants about the purpose of the study, what they will be asked to do, that their participation is voluntary and they have the right to stop at any time.
- VERTEBRATE ANIMALS (See pages 10-12 of the Rules and Guidelines)
- What POTENTIAL ALTERNATIVES to vertebrate animals were considered for this project? Be sure to present a detailed justification for use of vertebrate animals.
- What procedures or methods that will be used to minimize potential discomfort, distress, pain and injury to the animals during the course of experimentation and any detailed chemical concentrations and drug dosages. Projects containing procedures classified as USDA Pain Category D or E are PROHIBITED for NYCSEF.
- How many animals will be used in this study? Provide the species, strain, sex, age, etc of the animal and how the animals will be housed and cared for daily. Justify the number of animals planned for this study.
- How will the animals be disposed of at the termination of the study? Experimental procedures involving toxicity studies, predator/vertebrate prey experiments, or studies where students performed euthanasia on a vertebrate animal are PROHIBITED for NYCSEF.
- POTENTIALLY HAZARDOUS BIOLOGICAL AGENTS (See pages 13-16 of the Rules and Guidelines)
- Provide a description of the Biosafety Level Assessment process and BSL determination (see page 16 for details).
- Where did you obtain the specimen, agent, source of specific cell line, etc.?
- What safety precautions will be used during experimentation?
- How will any potentially hazardous biological agents be disposed of at the end of the study?
- HAZARDOUS CHEMICALS, ACTIVITIES & DEVICES (See pages 17-19 of the Rules and Guidelines)
- Provide a description of the Risk Assessment process and results.
- Provide a brief summary of the chemical concentrations and drug dosages that will be used in experimentation.
- What safety precautions and procedures will be used to minimize risk?
- How will any hazardous chemicals or materials be disposed of at the end of the study?
- 500 words or less
Provide a list of AT LEAST FIVE (5) MAJOR REFERENCES used to form the basis of your research project. References must be from science journal articles, books, or other publications. Encyclopedias and Internet search engines (e.g. Google, Yahoo, WebMD, Wikipedia, etc.) are not considered as major references and WILL NOT be accepted.
Finishing the Year
Assignment 9: Class Presentations
- Tell us in a PowerPoint presentation where you work, what you do in your lab, and what you hope to accomplish.
- Prepare 6 to 8 slides and be prepared to talk for 6 to 8 minutes.
- First drafts must be emailed to Mr. Elert before midnight
Sunday, May 1, 2016 [estimated]. Put RESEARCH HW 9 in the subject line
- Meet with your supervising teacher sometime between the deadlines above and below this bullet.
- Final drafts must be emailed to Mr. Elert before midnight
Sunday, May 8, 2016 [estimated]. Put RESEARCH HW 9 in the subject line
- Attend 5 days of the possible 10 days of presentations.
- Present on one of these 5 days.
- Fill out student surveys after every presentation.
- Clap politely after every presentation and ask good questions from time to time.
Midwood High School Science Fair
Thursday, May 26, 2016
All Science Research students participate in this event.
- Bring something to eat or drink.
- Participate as contestants.
- Juniors and Seniors
- Help set up.
- Participate as judges.
- Help clean up.
- Alumni and Teachers
- Participate as judges.
Lab Log Format
- In general …
- Use a hardbound notebook — one that would show obvious damage if a page was removed.
- Number all pages so that missing pages can be spotted.
- Never remove pages from your lab notebook.
- Place important information on the inside front cover.
- Personal information
- Your name, phone number, email address so that a lost lab log can be returned to you
- Your ICE name and phone number (ICE means "in case of emergency")
- Where you work
- Name of primary worksite, location (room number), phone number (if applicable)
- Name of secondary worksite, location (room number), phone number (if applicable)
- Name of tertiary worksite, location (room number), phone number (if applicable)
- Who you work with
- Principal investigator (PI) name, phone number, email address
- Other researcher name, phone number, email address
- Lab manager/technician name, phone number, email address
- Post-doc name, phone number, email address
- Graduate/Undergraduate student name, phone number, email address
- Daily entries
- Time In/Time Out
- Monthly summaries
- At the end of each month, create a table that summarizes the work you did for that month.
|Name of Month
|| ⇐ Total hours for the month
Weighting and Extra Credit Requirements
- In order to receive extra credit for the month (juniors only) or to receive a 1.05 for the semester (juniors and seniors), you are expected to attend lab and/or do lab-related work for at least 4 hours per week (16 hours per month for a month with 4 full weeks).
- A possible option for this time is analyzing articles that are related to your subject similar to the way you reviewed articles for this class.
- For all equipment that you use, you should read the manual from your lab and explain the operating principle behind that piece of equipment.
- For all protocols you should create an extremely simple flow chart of the procedure and identify the final product.
Spring Lab Logs
Lab logs are due at the first meeting of each month.
- January logs are due in February.
- February logs are due in March.
- March lab logs are due in April.
- April lab logs are due in May.
- May lab logs are due in June.
STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering, Math
Attend an approved STEM lecture
- Attend, listen, and take notes.
- Retain your admission ticket, program, or any other handout given at the lecture.
- Have your photo taken at the event by a teacher or other approved attendance taker.
- Complete this assignment while the lecture is still fresh in your mind. (Print the page before you go.)
- Type up your responses to the questions and submit them to your supervising teacher the next business day along with proof of attendance. Be prepared to discuss the lecture at your next meeting.
Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) Image of the Week (IOTW)
Create a blog entry around a set of scanning electron microscope images.
- Identify an object or set of objects that can be imaged under the SEM. (All objects must be solid and desiccated.) Clear it with Mr. Elert.
- Make an appointment to use the SEM period 10 and beyond.
- Make a series of images. Select the best (most artistic, most interesting, most informative).
- Write an essay of 100–500 words related to your best images. Essays should be written in a non-technical, entertaining style like that found in New Scientist, Scientific American, Discover, Wired, The Guardian, The New York Times, Seed, etc.
- Your images and text will be posted to the Midwood Science website.
Competitions and Events
Participate in STEM competitions or attend STEM special events.
- Review this list at the begining of the school year.
- Find an event or competition you are interested in.
- Tell your supervising teacher what you intend to do.
- Provide evidence of progress or participation for partial credit (when applicable).
- Manage your time effectively. Anticipate Deadlines.
- Provide evidence of completion for full credit.
Last Updated 22 February 2015.
|Mr. Elert (Coordinator)
||3172 or 3173
||3172 or 3173
|Mr. McDonnell (Principal)
||1270 or 8511
|Mr. Rosenfeld (Assistant Principal)