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SPONTANEOUS SCIENCE 2012 STEP 1: PRACTICAL SKILLS
• smart, enthusiastic students • some background knowledge • space & equipment for the work • mentors to help when needed • project idea: simple but lots of possibilities
Prepare the work environment with the correct equipment and supplies. Start with a project that has an obvious research pathway. Add the students to this environment, giving them new skills at regular intervals. IMPORTANT: must give the students time to practice these skills with and without mentors. At this point, the project is guided but students should be acquiring the skills to become independent.
WE HAVE THE SMART, ENTHUSIASTIC STUDENTS READY TO START RESEARCH. IN 2011, THE STUDENTS MET WITH THE PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA AND THE PREMIER OF BC. STEP 2: GATHER INITIAL DATA
• curious and meticulous students • good documentation practice • reliable skills for repeat measurements • mentors to help when needed This is a required step so that students learn to troubleshoot protocols when things aren’t perfect. It also allows students to practice proper lab notebook practices. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP.
Students use their new skills to collect data on the guided project.
RECIPE FOR SCIENTISTS
SPONTANEOUS SCIENCE 2012 STEP 3: ANALYSIS & LIT REVIEW
• students with data • simple analysis • literature searches • mentors to help when needed NOTE: you may need to do an additional step: how to read a paper. Students perform independent literature review. Is there similar data published? Does the collected data replicate previous ﬁndings?
Students analyze the collected data. Are there trends and/or interesting outliers?
STEP 4: NEW QUESTIONS
• motivated students • organized literature search • understanding of techniques • budget constraints • mentors to help when needed
Using their known techniques, students determine if there are other questions to be asked. Research questions should give knowledge independent of results. The proposed experiments should use established techniques and ﬁt within budget.
STEP 5: EXPERIMENTS
• new research questions • appropriate techniques • timeline for results • proper documentation • mentors to help when needed
Students should repeat step 2, properly documenting their results. It is important to be objective. Provide enough time for the experiment to mature. Steps 2 through 5 will be repeated as required.