CASE STUDIES - What techniques do you use to motivate your students with their research projects?

What techniques do you use to motivate your students with their research projects?

Well at Asquith Girls High school the science department is very keen for the students to get totally involved in their student research projects. so what we endeavour to do is to provide them with a range of topics and that culminates in them presenting the material in the Science fair. Now the Science fair is an opportunity for the students to present the material to groups of, members of the community, this will range from business people, parents, and the actual staff themselves.

One of the techniques or tasks we use obviously is the Science Fair that we have at Asquith Girls High School. It is a major undertaking I suppose that we do to get a bit of interaction with the girls and their experiments,and we also give them the opportunity with the Science Fair to get to present to people outside of their own peer group. They get to present to members of the local community, other fellow teachers and also members of other High schools. This does motivate them in the sense that they do want to excel and really understand what is involved in the experimental process because obviously if they aren't able to understand they do tend to feel a little embarressed, so it is a good motivator in encouraging them to get to understand the process.

I find that the students really find it very rewarding to get the positive feedback from the judges when they actually speak to them about their work. so when they ask them questions they really love to speak about their work and get the positive feedback. Besides that they are also able to get rewards in terms the final presentation ceremony. At this, this includes rewards in terms of our young scientists who receives a cup and which is an annual event and will be passed on for each successive young scientist.

Whilst we doing the project obviously the school had the introduction of some new technology, some new data loggers. The girls were extremely interested in being able to use this new technology and it was something that I didn't have a very good knowledge of to start with and after about 15 minutes of use just out on the oval with some temperature probes and such, the girls were showing me what to do and how to use them and all the new functions that we had as opposed to our old grey screen bits and pieces that we used to have so having that relevance in the technology that they can put their hands on is really something that has motivated our girls to understanding the experimental process.

The students are also able to include some of their work in terms of discussion with other students in terms of their school to work portfolios which is very important for their Year 10 and enables them to take this out into the community when they are ready for job interviews and experiences in that nature.

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