Friday, November 12, 2010

Student Initiated Research at Dutch Fork High School

By: Robert S. Jackson, Ed.S., Assistant Principal for Instruction
       Langdon Warner, Ph.D., Research Teacher
       Barry Lindler, M.Ed., Research Teacher

As a part of the accelerated science experience, students at Dutch Fork High School are expected to build foundations, collaborate with students and teachers, explore problems and solutions, integrate all content areas together, and fully immerse themselves in the research process until they solve the problem with innovative findings. In our Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Program (plus our Project Lead the Way Engineering Program), students are doing just that! This year, we have 41 students developing projects in three broad areas:

  • Science and engineering: A total of 12 students are executing projects in the fields of biology, environmental science, medicine, chemistry, psychology, and engineering.  These projects require long term experimentation and field work and can last up to 7-8 months.  This group of students will also compete in several regional and statewide science competitions.
  • Computer science and technology: Twelve students, including 6 who are in their second year of research, are applying several programming languages to projects in three broad areas: a) new applications for mobile devices such as cell phones,  b) testing alternative video game strategies, and 3) developing new methods for displaying and using data, games, and puzzles.
  • The Honors Engineering Development and Design class.  A part of Dutch Fork’s career based CATE program, these 17 students are designing and testing a wide range of new products. They will also be building prototypes, conducting patent searches, and completing market analysis on their designs.
As a part of the external review process, each student has prepared a poster summarizing their project idea, required to present their idea to the public, and field/answer questions about their research design, methodology, and current findings.  The forty-one research projects are as follows:

We are very excited about this year's research and are looking forward to the findings. We will continue to update you as we learn more through this inquiry process.

Project Title
Testing different organic foods for the Roundup-Ready Gene
Using genetic markers, commonly found fruits and vegetables classified as organic will be tested for the presence of the Roundup-Ready gene
Is Used Vegetable Oil the Preferred Source for Biodiesel and other Fuels?

Four sources of biodiesel (peanuts, soybeans, jatropha, coconut milk and vegetable oil) will be compared using the iodine test (oil content) and a heated flame ionization detector (air emissions)
Redesigning storm drains to control non-point pollution from oil and litter
Conventional storm drains remove urban runoff quickly, with little consideration of water quality. This project will design and test bench scale and full size filters for storm drains to reduce litter and visible oils
A ranking of wetland habitats in the Hollingshed Creek watershed.
The Hollngshed Creek watershed faces rapid urbanization. This project will map wetlands and other sensitive areas, developing a numerical ranking system for areas with high environmental sensitivity
Reading comprehension vs. academic achievement of fifth grade boys and girls.
Using a sample of fifth grade students, this project will compare sample questions from commonly used reading comprehension tests and then develop alternatives that realistically sample reading ability of boys vs. girls.
Training your eyes: a study of peripheral vision

Can peripheral vision be improved through training and exercises? A training program will be developed and tested to determine if eye exercises can improve peripheral vision.
Optimal growth medium for the algae Botryococcus braunii for the purpose of fuel production
The green algae Botryococcus braunii will be grown in at least three mediums. The algae will then be analyzed based on volume grown and the amount of fuel produced, to determine the optimum medium for fuel production
A habitat assessment of two white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) populationsUsing scent stations and other wildlife spotting techniques, the number and distribution of white tailed deer in a bottom land forested wetland and a mixed hardwood upland site of similar size will be compared.
Quantifying mood: color and the physical manifestations of mood
Tests of the physical reaction to different colors will be conducted by measuring change in heart rate, blood pressure, pupil dilation, and external body temperature as a way to quantify a feeling of changed mood.
Is Sucralose a potential carcinogen?
When sucrose is converted to the low calorie sugar substitute Sucralose, several hydroxyl groups are replaced with chlorine. This project will use a Salmonella based version of the AMES test to assess possible cancer risks.
Biodiversity of aquatic Organisms on two rapidly developing watersheds
Water quality and benthic invertebrate biodiversity will be compared in the watersheds of Hollingshed Creek and Wateree Creek. The first creek flows through suburbs while the second is largely rural.   
Does texting cause auditory short term memory loss in today’s adolescents?
A Distracter Test will be developed assessing short term memory with and without interruptions by cell phone text messages..

Project Title
iPhone/ipad/itouch Walkthrough Observation Application
An iPhone application will be developed to allow the school administrators to review staff members individually. Each report is emailed to the person being reviewed and saved to an online database.
Physics Formula Calculator (Android App Development)
A new Droid application will be developed allowing users to solve physics formulas for the missing variable. The formulas are part of the AP Physics B Formula Sheet.  This application will be useful to high school students taking AP Physics.
Risk Analysis
A program for a simple card game has been developed.  Players will be given a questionnaire designed to draw conclusions about the risk behavior of specific demographic groups.
Logic and Theory
A program is being developed for the "Hangman" game which will then be used as a medium to test the level of logic that players use in guessing games.
Color analysis and reaction time
A target based game where different colored targets appear on the screen and the user has to hit it within a certain time frame before it disappears, focusing on reaction times based on color of objects.
Paintball target practice
A program is being developed simulating a paintball target based game where waves of targets will fall from the screen and the user will have to shoot them all.
Chess strategies
A chess program is being developed which will be used to implement different playing strategies to see which one is the most effective verses a typical chess formation.
A program of the game Phoenix is being developed which will be used to determine the fastest and most efficient way to win this game
A game program is being developed simulating physics, specifically on a "ragdoll" character.
Budgeting basics
In depth program that fuses budgeting with functionality, empowering the user to take control of their assets. 
Effective Visualization of data
An effort to determine how a person’s age or gender affects retention of visualized data.  What approach to data representation is the most effective?

Project Title
Break-resistant headphones
Attempting to prevent headphone wires from breaking over time
Carry-All food tray
Attempting to stop food spills in your car when ordering complete meals.
Cup Holders
Attempting to fix cups from tipping over in cars in a new and innovative way.
Guitar Killswitch
Attempting to make a more accessible kill switch effect for electric guitars.
IPod Screen Glare
Attempting to stop the glare on an iPod, iPad, and iPhone while protecting it with a case.
No-spill food transport
Attempting to prevent food from spilling when transporting. A design utilizing existing containers will be developed
Recoil Pad
Attempting to make a pad that reduces pain from the recoil of a firearm
Slip-proof shoulder bag
Attempting to prevent book bags or bags from sliding off shoulder, and making it comfortable
Tipping PowerAde cooler
Attempting to stop the requirement of tipping a PowerAde cooler to get the last of the liquid.

Spill-proof Paint Pods
Attempting to solve the problem of spilling paint pods during a paint ball excursion.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for visiting our blog. Your comments will be posted soon! Help us spread the word and post this link to your Facebook and Twitter accounts.