Science Based Research Paper - help!

Discussion in 'General Education' started by teachin4ever, Dec 20, 2009.

  1. teachin4ever

    teachin4ever Cohort

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    Dec 20, 2009

    Hey everyone!

    My 7th grade LA class will be starting their research papers when we return from break. This is the first year I have ever taught students how to write a research paper (actually, it's the first year the kids have ever written one, also). The only requirements I was given by our school's LA director is that it has to be a science based research paper with a thesis.

    Does anyone have any experience with this type of research paper? I'm not sure if I should have my kids actually do an experiment along with the paper, or if they can just create a thesis statement and write the paper without doing an experiment. I'm not a science teacher, so it makes this that much more difficult.

    If you know of some resources (web or books) that you think may come in handy, could you send them my way so I can take a look? I'm feeling incredibly overwhelmed right now and wish I had some more guidance on this than what I was given.

    Thanks!
     
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  3. deserttrumpet

    deserttrumpet Comrade

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    Dec 20, 2009

    Let them design thier own ex. I might consider giving them some parameteres, such as the effect of "X" on goldfish respiration. Respiration can be measured by watching how often the fish opens its mouth in a time period. I did this last year (with older students) and they had a great time. I was hoping for some good research, but as it turns out my kids had no experiece designing their own so they ended up where I would expect middle school kids to be. For example, one group wanted to see the effects of milk on the goldfish.

    If you want the kids to do the same project then temp on goldfish is a great project.
     
  4. wrice

    wrice Habitué

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    Dec 20, 2009

    You're a LA teacher being asked to have your kids do science? Do your kids have a science teacher? I would recommend you collaborate with that science teacher as performing experiments usually means extensive materials and prep.

    There are thought experiments that ask a question and attempt to answer it through literature research, but that kind of journal research is not for the novice.

    I think it would be developmentally appropriate for your students to pick a science topic that interests them and research that, independent of experimentation.

    Here's a link on thesis construction if this is really what your director wants from your kids:
    http://www.sdst.org/shs/library/thesis.html
     
  5. fuzed_fizzion

    fuzed_fizzion Comrade

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    Dec 20, 2009

    I also think you should see about collaboration with your science teacher for a science experiment. If I couldn't collaborate with a science teacher for the experiment, I would check to see what topics have been covered and/or currently covering. There are lots of great things to do a research project on in science. Last year my students did research projects on current medical advances that have effected their lives or the life of someone close to them. Check out sciencenewsforkids.org they have some great middle school level current science information there.
     
  6. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    Dec 21, 2009

    "Research paper" can mean two different things in science. It could be the write-up for an experiment, or it could be a literature review of a topic. Since the LA director wants a thesis, she probably means the second kind of research paper, and she probably wants them to argue a position - something like "Embryonic stem cells should not be used for scientific research because it requires killing potential babies" or something equally polarizing (many of my students took that position this year, although some took the opposite position).

    You could give the students a list of topics that relate to their science curriculum and have them research the topics in the library. For my 7th graders, the topics could include stem cells, genetic engineering, DNA testing, cancer and cancer treatments, cloning, genetically modified foods, and evolution. Try to find topics that relate to their curriculum but aren't usually covered in depth.
     

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