Junior Science Research
- The first goal of this class is for students to develop an evidence-based research project of their own. Projects are researched and described in the fall semester and executed and analyzed in the spring semester. Students are encouraged to look for mentors with advanced content knowledge to help guide them through the research process, but this is not mandatory.
- 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 Regeneron Science Talent Search (Regeneron STS), Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS), New York City Science and Engineering Fair (NYCSEF), St. Joseph's College High School Poster Session, Afro-Academic Cultural Scientific Technological Olympiad (ACT-SO), 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). Important dates are in red. 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. There will be several opportunities for extra credit.
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.
- First meeting (only meeting)
- Research plan
- First meeting (only meeting)
- First meeting
- Research plan
- Second meeting
- Research plan
- First meeting
- Exit meeting (only meeting)
Assignment 0: Official Documents
- You will give us…
- your email address (use this form) so that we can contact you and so that email from you does not wind up in anyone's spam mailbox. If you prefer not to use your midwoodhighschool.org email account, please be sure to use one with a professional sounding user name. Notify me in a timely fashion if you wish to change your preferred email address. Your email address will only be used by research teachers and school administrators. We will not share your email address with anyone else without your permission.
- a signed contract that covers the following legal matters …
- parent release: so that you can leave the building to work at your research site, attend lectures, and participate in competitions and other special events.
- electronic communication agreement: so that we can communicate effectively with a class that is scattered across the city. You give us your email address so we can contact you and you agree to check your email inbox and Google Classroom at least once each school day for messages from us.
- science research room usage agreement: so that you can use the facilities in the research room (A214) during your free periods. This covers access to the computers, printers, microwave ovens, and (for the seniors) lab drawers.
- photo release: so that we can use your name, likeness (photos, videos, etc.), and excerpts from your work (titles, abstracts, graphs, diagrams, etc.) to publicize your accomplishments on school controlled webpages and social media accounts.
- proof of lab assignment if you find a professional scientist who will mentor you. Doing this makes you eligible for 1.05 weighting on your class rank and the title of Honors Science Research.
- We will give you…
- a letter of introduction (for any work site that asks for one)
- a Brooklyn College Library Card (for anyone who wants one)
- Special Program MetroCards (once you are accepted into a work site)
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".
- A link that I can click on to take me to the resource. It has to be something with a fixed location on the internet and no weird symbols like ?, &, #, =, +. Sometimes students give me links that are search queries. I don't know why they do that.
- A description of the resource that is something like a bibliographic entry, but not so formal. If you would like to practice doing bibliographic entries for this assignment, then go right ahead. You will have to learn it eventually. I recommend Citation Machine with APA formatting as a useful tool. Please note that just because something is on the World Wide Web doesn't mean it's a webpage. For example, a YouTube video is not a webpage, it's a video. An article at nytimes.com is not a webpage, it's a newspaper article.
- A summary of what you want me to focus on. You have to do this because I don't want to read a 500 page PDF or watch a 3 hour video in its entirety.
- Tell me how you could see yourself doing something related to the scientific idea in this resource you found. How do you think you could participate, replicate, imitate, etc.?
You will do this assignment twice.
- 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).
- 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:
- Who are you?
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.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:
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- Personal information
- 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 Date Hours Activity ⇐ 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.
Fall Lab Logs
- Junior lab logs are due at the first meeting of each month.
- Summer lab logs are due in October.
- September lab logs are due in October.
- October lab logs are due in November.
- November lab logs are due in December.
- December lab logs are due in January.
- Senior lab logs for September, October, November are due December 1 and are only used to qualify for Honors Research (1.05 weighted class).
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.
- American Chemical Society New York Section
- Brooklyn Frontiers in Science Public Lecture, Thursday, March 11, 2021 [?]
- Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
- Major Trends in Modern Cancer Research, Wednesday, November 13, 2019
- The Rockefeller University
- Talking Science a.k.a. the "Holiday Lecture", Saturday, January 9, 2021 [?]
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 2 September 2019.
- American Mathematics Contest 12 (AMC 12)
- Ask the Math Department at Midwood about this competition
- Organized by the Mathematical Association of America
- American Association of Physics Teachers
- Bay Scallop Bowl
- For members of the Ocean Science Team
- See Mr. Stack in room 135 or Ms. Lau in room A212 for more info
- Biology Olympiad
- Ms. Ross supervises this activity
- Organized by the Center for Excellence in Education
- Brain Bee
- For students in AP Psychology (current or former)
- Organized by The Dana Foundation
- Chemistry Olympiad
- The AP Chemistry teachers supervise this activity
- Organized by the American Chemical Society
- Run by the New York Section of the American Chemical Society
- Conrad Challenege
- Sponsored by the Pete Conrad Foundation
- Cyber Security Awareness Week
- Cyber Forensics Challenge
- Organized by Tandon School of Engineering at New York University
- DNA Day Essay
- Ms. Ross supervises this activity
- Organized by the American Society of Human Genetics
- Sponsored by Toshiba, Inc.
- FIRST Tech Challenge
- For members of the Robotics Team
- See Mr. Jahn in room A317 or Ms. Ali in room A380 for more info
- Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams
- Grants of up to $10,000 for technological solutions to real-world problems
- Maker Faire
- Two days in September
- Serve as a volunteer (a "Traveler" in Maker Faire speak)
- Mathworks Math Modeling (M3) Challenge, formerly Moody's Mega Math Challenge
- National Space Society
- Saturday STEM Seminar (a.k.a. S3)
- Organized by the Barnard College Office of Pre-College Programs
- For female students only
- Team America Rocketry Challenge
- Urban Barcode Project
- Organized by the Harlem DNA Lab
- Ms. Goldstein supervises this activity
- Young Science Achievers Program
- Write a research proposal
- Applicants for this program must be …
- females of any ethnicity
- males of African American, Hispanic or Native American descent
- attending public or private high schools in New Jersey or New York City (grades 9–12).
- World Science Festival
- Five days in May/June
- Serve as a volunteer