What is the Science Research Program? The Science Research Program at Lakeland Central School District is a three or four year program (freshman or sophomore through the senior year). Participating students are self-selected but must complete several requirements before acceptance into the program. The purpose of this program is to afford students the opportunity to participate in the community of scientific research and scholarship as part of their high school experience.
What do I do in a Science Research class? Students begin by choosing a topic of interest, and proceed to research the literature in that field, gaining knowledge and gradually narrowing down their interest to a very specific topic. Students progress from popular articles to professional scientific papers. The topic area may be in the physical sciences, natural sciences, medicine, social sciences, mathematics, computer technology, engineering, and so on.
Students do most of their bibliographic research on-line. Additionally, the students regularly prepare PowerPoint presentations on chosen articles and present these to become competent and professional public speakers, in preparation for participation in scientific competitions.
How will I be doing research? An important aspect of the program is communication with professionals currently doing research in the topic area. Students communicate by e-mail, telephone, FAX, or letter, to establish a dialog and develop a mentor relationship. Once a mentor(s) is/are obtained, the student is aided in developing their own original research project. The student carries this project out under the guidance of the mentor, often in the mentor’s laboratory and usually over the summer months. Data is analyzed, results summarized and a professional scientific research paper is written. Research papers will be submitted to competitions such as Intel and ISEF during the students’ junior and/or senior years. Students will create professional posters and present their research at local, regional, and possibly national and international science fairs, symposia, and competitions.
How can parents support their students? It is necessary that parents be supportive and involved with their child's participation in the program. Asking questions and having students practice presentations for them helps the students. Most often this involvement is in providing transportation for their child to the mentor's place of research.
Why become a Science Research student? The Science Research Program is innovative, promotes personal achievement, and is driven by mentor relationships. It develops skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, effective written and verbal communication, on-line searching, time management, and public speaking. These students are given the opportunity to learn how to become a part of the professional research community.
Students receive one science elective credit per academic year with honors weighting and up to twelve college credits from SUNY Albany for work completed during their post-sophomore summer, junior year, post-junior summer and senior year.