Do you remember when you worked on your science investigatory project?
Science investigatory projects provide an introduction to high school students (especially for students of science high schools) into the world of research. Their projects begin with the formulation of a question, which is later shaped into a research proposal. The research is conducted over a few months, and culminates in a presentation at a science fair, much like how new research is showcased at scientific conferences.
However, it can be quite challenging to come up with innovative research as a high school student, especially since this is their first foray into research design. With this in mind, The Mind Museum recently concluded its first installment of Ask Plus, a workshop and mentoring program on how to conduct science investigatory projects.
The program would help to cultivate in students the art of devising pertinent questions for scientific investigation. Learning to ask the right questions not only prepares one for school and research; it also hones a better understanding of the philosophy of scientific inquiry, so one can better understand the world around them.
The program also aims to arm students with the proper tools and tips in searching for answers to their questions. For instance, how can you determine if an online source is credible? Rigor and credibility are just as important in the world of science as is a sense of wonder.
Conducted last August in partnership with the Rene Cayetano Science and Technology High School in Taguig, students from grades 7-10 attended one-day sessions at the Museum, which were facilitated by the Education Team.
The high school students were sponsored by Fort Bonifacio Development Foundation, Inc. NutriAsia also provided bottles of Locally Blended Juice Drink for the participants during their breaks.
Sessions began with simple diagnostic tests for the students, to gauge their initial understanding on the philosophy of science, and on how research is conducted.
Afterward, the scientific method was discussed, and how questions are answered in the sciences and in engineering. While the students first defined science in a very clinical way, they soon understood that science was a method and a process, as opposed to a body of knowledge.
The session continued in the afternoon with a quiz game on finding the right online and offline sources for your research.
The students had to guess what kinds of sources were the most appropriate, based on the information they wanted to learn. They also learned how to properly cite sources and how to read scientific journals. These are helpful tips not only for their investigative projects, but also for when they go to university and beyond.
The last part of the workshop was a consultation with the education team on the students' topics. They used this time to refine their questions, and also asked for suggestions on their research protocols.
The students were also given the opportunity to focus on topics that they actually wanted to investigate, so they could be motivated to work.
After the workshops, The Mind Museum will be going to the school for additional consultation sessions. The students will also be mentored on their projects, to be shown at their Science Fair.
Ask Plus is a testament to how effective science education can be achieved and enhanced even outside of the classroom. In the process, the students also discovered how even seemingly mundane questions could be investigated in a scientific way, and gained a newfound appreciation and curiosity for the world around them.