This course is designed to provide students with the opportunity to research methodology in the natural and social sciences. This will be accomplished by accessing scientific databases by using on-line bibliographic search techniques, consulting doctoral-level research scholars, developing hypotheses, performing experiments, writing research papers and making presentations at various scientific symposia. In addition, students may participate in national science competitions.
Duration of Study: (full year, one semester, trimester): One semester on a 90 minute block schedule which is equivalent to a full year course.
Textbook title and copyright date:
No specific textbook is used in the course. The materials used come from a variety of sources dependent upon the students’ selected topics for research. Scientific journals and data bases are typical. Please note that YUHSD course requirements include the establishment of a partnership with a scientist in the field providing mentoring for teachers and students, as well as, access to relevant current research.
Strongly recommended textbook: STEM Student Research Handbook
Details: NSTA Press Book
Publication Date: 9/1/2011
Grade Leve: High School
Context for Course
This course is designed to provide students with an authentic science research experience. This will be accomplished by accessing scientific data bases, using on-line bibliographic search techniques, consulting doctoral-level researchers, developing hypotheses, performing experiments, writing research papers and communicating findings.
Students spend approximately 75% - 80% of class time engaged in the research process. One to three initial hands-on experiences are utilized to assess and build scientific processes skills. Specific research skills such as conducting a literature search, writing a proposal, and analyzing data will be taught then utilized by students in the completion of their individual research projects.
1. Utilize technology and inquiry to increase understanding of the natural world.
2. Access and evaluate scientific literature for relevance to a topic.
3. Design and conduct independent scientific research involving the collection and analysis of data.
4. Analyze and communicate the findings of scientific research
Required Labs :
Introductory Labs - Teachers will use several labs to formatively access and build scientific inquiry skills. Selection will be based on the topics of interest and need of students. All introductory labs require students to determine their own questions regarding the provided demonstration or situation then design and conduct a lab utilizing the materials and parameters provided.
How Enzymes Work: Investigating their specificity and susceptibility to environmental factors using Jell-O.
Students will begin day 1 by performing the guided procedure of exposing pre-made Jell-O cubes to pineapple juice from two different sources: fresh versus processed. While observing for 30 minutes and collecting data at 5-minute intervals, student groups will choose two additional questions, from the questions provided, to investigate. Student groups decide on a procedure for each question and get teacher approval before they are allowed to experiment. Essentially the next two lab days, students are conducting their two investigations, collecting data and organizing their results to share with their classmates.
Reflections and Discussion Questions: Students continue to work in their groups to answer the questions provided at the conclusion of the investigations.
Final Assessment: Individually, students write a summary of their newfound understanding of enzymes, how they work and factors that affect their activity. They need to be specific and may even include a labeled diagram in their explanation.
(Initial Guided Lab):
Prepared 2-3 cm Jell-O Brand gelatin cubes (4 cubes per group)
Shallow dish or pan (Petri dish)
Fresh Pineapple juice
-Prepared by pureeing fresh pineapple in a blender. The puree should be strained through cheesecloth to separate the pulp from the juice.
Canned Pineapple juice
-Prepare as directed for fresh pineapple juice.
(Additional Materials Available to Students for their two further investigations):
Prepared Hot Knox Gelatin
(Stir 2 envelopes of KNOX unflavored gelatin into 800 ml of hot water) - enough for 3 classes, store in a warm water bath.)
Jell-O Brand Gelatin (can be used to prepare gelatin cubes)
Ice water bath
Test tubes and rack
pH testing paper
Razor Blade or Knife for cutting fruit
A variety of fruits:
Pineapple (fresh, frozen and canned), Apples, Grapes, Strawberries, Kiwi, Orange, Papaya, Fig, other...
Effect of pH on living organisms:
Predict how the response of liver homogenate will compare to that of tap water and commercial buffer when acid or base is added.
Materials: (per team of 4)
4 pairs of safety goggles
50 ml beaker
100 ml graduated cylinder
0.1M HCL and dropper
0.1M NaOH and dropper
Sodium phosphate pH 7 buffer
Biological (liver) homogenate
1. Pour 25 ml of tap water into beaker or jar
2. Record the initial pH using the pH paper
3. Add 0.1M HCL a drop at a time. Gently swirl the mixture after each drop. Determine the pH after 5 drops have been added. Repeat this procedure until 30 drops have been used. Record the pH measurements in Table 1.
4. Rinse the beaker thoroughly and pour into it another 25 ml of tap water. Record the initial pH of the water and 0.1M NaOH drop by drop, recording the pH changes in exactly the same way as for the o.1M HCL.
5. Using 25mL of biological homogenate (liver), instead of tap water, repeat steps 2-4 and record the data in Table 1.
6. Finally, test the buffer solution ( a nonliving chemical solution) using the same method outlined in steps 2-4. Record the data in your table.
7. Wash your hands
• Create a line graph comparing the pH change in tap water, liver homogenate and commercial buffer after the addition of HCl
• Create a second line graph comparing the pH change in tap water, liver homogenate and commercial buffer after the addition of NaOH
• Refer to the following guidelines when creating a graph
o Hand drawn graphs must be in pencil.
o Y-axis is the dependent variable (results) and X-axis is the independent variable
o Axes should be labeled. Be sure to include units.
o Graphs should be labeled as Figures (Fig 1, Fig 2 etc.) and given an underlined title in the “y” v. “x” format. (ex. Fig 1: Breathing Rate v. Temperature) The units do not need be included again in the title.
o Graphs with more than one line should use point protectors (see below) to distinguish between lines and must include a key.
o Point protectors refer to enclosing the “dots” on different lines with a different shape (circle, square etc), and are considered more sophisticated than using color or dashes to distinguish between lines. Excel graphs will use different shaped dots to distinguish and point protectors mimic this.
• Calculate the percent change in % for each solution for both NaOH and HCl.
% Change = (Final – Initial/Initial) x 100
➢ Address the objectives and summarize what you learned as well as what the results indicate.
➢ Do the results support or refute your hypothesis or were your results inconclusive?
➢ Were there any sources of error/problems with the experimental design? If so, how could you address these issues?
➢ What new questions have you developed based on the results of this experiment that could lead to further investigation?
On the information level, this experiment serves to acquaint students with basic information on the growth of bacteria, on their prevalence in the air around us and in our total environment and on the conditions under which bacteria can readily grow and multiply. In addition, on the processing level, student learn to use the scientific method and to construct a hypothesis, to use a control, to identify variables, to gather and analyze data, formulate a conclusion and produce a report including a bibliography documenting their arm chair research.
• 10 Petri dishes containing sterilized, nutrient agar (can be purchased directly from Carolina Biological Inc.)
• Plastic gloves
• Disinfectant bleach
• Wax pencil
• Masking tape
Students will be able to:
• Define research; explain and apply research terms; describe the research process and the principle activities, skills and ethics associated with the research process.
• Explain the relationship between theory and research.
• Describe and compare the major quantitative and qualitative research methods in mass communication research.
• Propose a research study and justify the theory as well as the methodological decisions, including sampling and measurement.
• Understand the importance of research ethics and integrate research ethics into the research process.
• Be able to assess and critique a published journal article that uses one of the primary research methods in the field.
• Be able to construct an effective questionnaire that employs several types of survey questions.
• Construct an effective research proposal that will serve as the launching point for the study you conduct next semester.
Requested competency code:
- Lab Science
In order to be further reviewed for a lab science, we will need additional information about physical labs completed including but not limited to time spent doing hands on labs per week and a list of those labs completed.