Project 1: The World of Science
As outlined in the Program Curriculum Guide, all Intermediate level science students are required to complete a science project. At Macdonald Drive we have developed what we consider a very extensive and productive approach to meet this objective. The project is spread over a five month period and is developed in two stages. First of all students are provided with information on project formats, topic selection, the scientific method and other problem solving methodologies. Students are then required to select a topic of interest to them and prepare a Project Proposal outlining what it is they plan to do, the type of project and supply background information on the scientific principle behind their idea. Extensive research is required and bibliographic information must be recorded. Only after this proposal has been graded and approved by the science teacher are students permitted to proceed to the second stage. Stage two involves the actual completion of the project and presentation to the student's class and possible entry into the school's annual Science Fair.
Each grade level is required to complete a unit entitled Doing an Independent Science Project as outlined in the Program Description for Intermediate Science. The unit is designed to take students through a process that will arouse their interest in science projects and at the same time teach them how to become independent investigators. In doing so they will apply skills and processes of science to issues of scientific concern which interest them. The unit can also serve to illustrate the modern view of science to students. That is, while doing a project students will wonder, do, think and tell much like a scientist does and at the same time experience the excitement, as well as the frustrations associated with discovery in science.
We are presently attempting this project using a collection of print material and computer software that contain project ideas and factual scientific information. Students are encouraged to use outside sources of information and many are attempting to do so. Since we presently have only one computer workstation with Internet access we are very limited in what we can provide in this area. We feel that having our entire school computer network attached to the internet would enable our students to create, develop and present even more rewarding projects for the following reasons:
Each stage of the project is evaluated. Stage one, the project proposal, is first evaluated after about six weeks to ensure that previously listed learning outcomes are being achieved. Stage two, the completed project, is then evaluated by each student's science teacher using the same criteria. Throughout the project, evaluation is ongoing in the form of observations and anecdotal records to ensure the continual development of group dynamics and skills necessary for problem solving and decision making. In addition to this, students who enter our annual Science Fair will have their projects evaluated by a panel of judges.
The benefits of a Stellar connection will be inherent in the quality of the completed projects. Feedback from parents and students as to the usefulness of the information added to our homepage will also be very helpful in determining the success of this project. The additional interest generated in science due to making the worldwide connections with other members of our global science community will also serve as a benefit of being a Stellar School.