Students participating in Project CONVERGE will have the unique opportunity to conduct their own investigations related to the topics and data of this project. The students will work on these investigations throughout the winter and spring 2015 and then present their results and findings to the Science Team and to one another at the April Student Research Symposium at Liberty Science Center.
This component of Project CONVERGE encourages students to develop questions and an inquiry-based scientific investigation that builds upon the knowledge they have learned about the science of the research mission. The goal of the Student Research Symposium is to excite and engage students about the ocean by providing a platform for students to share their science investigation results with one another and the Science Team. This allows the students to act as science communicators and peer educators.
Included on this page is information about:
- Example Investigation Topic Areas
- Taking a topic area and making it into a testable question & writing the mini-proposal
- Investigation Mini-Proposal Information
- Research Mission Data for Investigations (if your students would like to use CONVERGE data, they do NOT have to)
- General Information about Scientific Investigations
* Students will work in groups no larger than 6 to conduct their investigations, prepare their posters, and present their results. *
The students will be able to choose from a variety of suggested research topic areas or choose their own. The suggested research topic areas included (NOTE – these are large topic areas and the students will need to chose a testable question from within a topic area for their investigation):
- Relationship between the spatial location of convergent zone formation and tide cycle
- Relationship between the spatial location of convergent zone formation and the bathymetry (seafloor features)
- Effects of tide cycle on zooplankton (krill) abundance over space and/or time
- Effects of tide cycle on penguin habitat use over space and/or time
- Effects of convergent zone on ocean temperature, salinity, and/or density across the water column or parts of the water column
- Relationship between phytoplankton growth (measured through chlorophyll) and nutrient concentrations
- Impact of different environmental/water variables on zooplankton (brine shrimp) survival and/or growth
- Impact of pH or temperatures on zooplankton (brine shrimp) survival and/or growth
- Effects of increased acidity (ocean acidification) on shell strength
Narrowing a topic area down to a testable question is a huge accomplishment and challenge (for scientists too)! (Coming soon, resources to help your students narrow down a topic area question to a testable question)
- View this terrestrial example of a student mini-proposal for a classroom experiment.
- Topic Area: How does light effect plants?
- Testable Question: How can changing the amount of light change how much and how quickly grass grows?
- View this terrestrial aquatic example of a student mini-proposal for an investigation using online data.
- Topic Area: How do chlorophyll levels change over time?
- Testable Questions: How does the average amount of chlorophyll differ between the seasons near Tuckerton, NJ? How has the overall amount of chlorophyll changed since 2012 near Tuckerton, NJ?
All scientists write research proposals to get feedback on their planned research project and their work funded. As part of Project CONVERGE all student groups will need to submit a less than 2-page mini-proposal to the Education Team for review. These can be submitted at any time, but are all due by February 16, 2015.
Click here to access the format/structure for the Investigation Mini-Proposals.
* To learn more about what goes into a research proposal, review the suggestions by Darci Harland (Getting Started with STEM Research).
The research team will make available various components of their data in real time during the month of January for the students to access, look at, and use for their investigations if they would like. The data webpage is currently being built.
We have compiled some resources to assist you and your students in conducting scientific investigations.
- Advice about Scientific Investigations
- Darci Harland provides a good description of how to design a STEM research project, develop a hypothesis and background questions to drive the research project. (Getting Started with STEM Research)
- The “Understanding Science – how science really works” website produced by University of California, Berkeley is a helpful resource when developing a scientific investigation.
- “Teaching Students to Ask Their Own Questions: One small change can yield big results” Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana (Harvard Education Letter, Volume 27, Number 5, September/October 2011) – A look at how to get kids to ask questions in general, which can be used to get students to ask good science questions and prioritize their questions.
- “Ready, Set, Science: Putting Research to Work in K-8 Science Classrooms – Learning from Science Investigations” Sarah Michaels, Andrew W. Shouse, and Heidi A. Schweingruber; National Research Council (2007) (available for a free download or to purchase a paperback copy at the National Academies Press website)
For More Assistance:
The Project CONVERGE Education Team at Rutgers University and Liberty Science Center is ready to help in whatever way we can. We can help your students to develop questions or design the investigation, to provide assistance undertaking the investigation, to brainstorm poster content, and many other tasks. See our blog post on Science Investigations to learn helpful hints for how to conduct experiments in your classroom.