The Science Research course at Summit High School, co-taught by Dr. Benjamin Greene and Cynthia Vitale, is now in its third year. Students taking this one-semester elective learn science literacy – or the “language of science” – research methods, laboratory procedures, and more, with the goal of developing and conducting a science research project.


Students identify a topic of research and then proceed to read scientific literature; create testable hypotheses; perform experimentations; record, analyze, and discuss results; and state clear conclusions.  They learn time management, sophistication in dealing with professionals, and bibliographic research using online services.  Throughout the program, special attention is paid to the development of both oral and written communication skills.  Students will be asked to give several presentations throughout the year regarding literature reviewed and progress on individual research projects.  In addition, students will be asked to submit written responses to articles read and will keep track of their research in lab notebooks.


Based on their bibliographic research, students contact the authors of articles with the objective of obtaining a mentor in order to do their original research in the scientist’s laboratory or under the mentor’s guidance.  The Scientist/Mentor supervises the student in the content area of the research.

The classroom teacher helps direct the student through the process of scientific research and overcoming daily research obstacles.  The teacher holds class 2 or 3 days a week; meets with each student in the class for one period every two weeks to discuss hypotheses, goals, and objectives; helps the student in bibliographic research; analyzes the student’s research portfolio; and is a participant in the student’s self-assessment and activity log.  Science Research uses portfolios to assist students in the processes of research and to document each activity of research completed.


As the culminating activity, in the third full year, students must write a scientific paper and enter their research into local, state, and/or national competitions (e.g. Intel, ISEF, JSHS, Siemens, etc.).  This research paper is a culmination of three and a half years and tow summers of student work.  It reflects the student’s hypothesis, repeatable methods, and interpretations that stem directly from the acquired data and results.  The paper should include appropriate data analysis, which will serve as the evidence and medium for the student’s s conclusions.  During the development of this paper, students will make formal presentations of progress and findings to his or her class, and school district.