By Jonah Song
As the time until the Aardvark Science Exposition decreases, students are beginning to focus in on experimentation and meeting deadlines for their science research. Consequently, the annual time for protesting and stressing about science research is upon us.
Among the students who despise science research, the general consensus is that required workload for science research is too substantial. Furthermore, the impact of science research on the cumulative grade for science is considered by many students to be unfairly large.
Although a notable portion of the student body is opposed to science research, there are some students who still see it as a necessary element of the school. According to the class of 2018’s Peter Bloch, science research is “a right of passage” and “what makes OES, OES.” Numerous faculty members stand in agreement with Peter: Service Learning Coordinator, Kara Tambellini, also expressed that doing science research is a right of passage for the students here at OES.
Additionally, Head of School, Mo Copeland, and Head of the Science Department, Ryan Holland were able to give me some insight about science research and the actual rationale behind it. According to Mo, the students do science research because “OES education is grounded in a commitment to guided inquiry.” Based on this commitment to guided inquiry, Mo affirmed that “OES is committed to science research because of its importance in teaching the skills of asking good questions, gathering meaningful data, and drawing information from that data.” These skills are crucial to our graduates being “local and global citizens.” According to Ryan Holland, “Science research is an opportunity for students to engage in a long-term project that explores an area of specific interest.” With a similar outlook to Mo, Ryan went on to state that “students practice and perfect applicable skills that will help them in other academic endeavors; students must conduct a literature review, make modifications based on the results of initial trials, learn to use and troubleshoot unfamiliar tools the laboratory, interpret data, detail findings in an organized and comprehensive manner, and collaborate with other students and/or teachers.” Both of my faculty interviewees emphasized the pertinence of the skills which are learned in science research to life beyond high school.
Personally, my opinion falls somewhere in between the two most prominent outlooks on science research. While I completely agree that students learn invaluable skills which are applicable to life following high school, I also believe that science research may be weighted too much in the calculation of a science grade, especially considering that for many students, their science research project does not relate to the class that they are taking on very many levels. Perhaps, the percentage worth of science research in the overall science grade could be cut, allowing for the students to still learn the important skills relating to science research, and not stress as much?