A grant from the Summit Education Foundation (SEF) has led to the creation of a Science Research course at Summit High School. The course was designed to provide students with the opportunity to participate in a professional level science research project. Originally started as a “before school program” and fully funded by SEF, it is now a full-fledged course offering in the SHS science department. SEF continues to fund materials and equipment for the course.
The program's scope goes significantly beyond what is available through the traditional high school science sequence. Students identify a research topic of interest. They research pertinent scientific literature, develop a testable hypothesis, design and perform experiments, analyze the data, discuss results and form conclusions. The final activity in the course is writing a scientific paper to be submitted to one or more competitions.
Student feedback has been very positive. “Science Research gives me the opportunity focus on an area of science I can’t do in the regular classroom. I also get to compete with other science projects at other schools," said SHS junior Kristen. Ben, a sophomore, says that “it’s a good hands-on course, not just textbook reading. I’ve gotten better at running lab experiments with Dr. Greene’s help.” Science teachers Ms. Cynthia Vitale (biology) and Dr. Benjamin Greene (physics) provide guidance and feedback while each student struggles with the real life obstacles of scientific research. Dr. Greene is “grateful to SEF for funding this grant. It makes a difference in a high school science program. The equipment allows us to augment traditional lab experiments and it also enables us to enter science competitions.” Vitale is the original grant author and is “thrilled how the program has progressed in three years. I am looking forward to working with the scientific liaison that SEF is funding for the next school year. Placing kids in real research opportunities is very gratifying.”