Demonstration of learning

Author: Frank LaBanca, Ed.D.

In 500-750 proofed words, demonstrate that you have learned this year.  How has your learning been different from other classes?  What will you take with you from your research experience that is valuable and transferable?

13 Responses to “Demonstration of learning”

  1. Tyler W. Says:

    This year in the Applied Science Research class I have learned a great deal about how to really put together a project. The aspect of this class that makes it different from others is that the class is primarily project-oriented, whereas regular classes (whether they be science classes or other types), only have projects as a smaller part of the coursework. Thus, in the applied research class, there is a large scale goal to accomplish. Before I had been introduced to the research class, I did not know exactly how much work and planning went into the development of a large scale project.
    One of the things that was striking during the coursework this year was the amount of planning that is necessary to successfully complete the project. This was something that will have to be taken into account next year. A large project truly requires good planning. With so many routes and paths to follow during the process, without a plan, it is easy to get lost in the amount of work. For the next project, I will definitely have a more structured plan of action to follow.
    However, not only is there a great deal of planning necessary for the process, but it is also necessary to plan for outcomes and setbacks. Without good fallback plans, it is possible to be stuck the week before a presentation with nothing to show. This is an incredibly stressful situation, and can be avoided if the proper planning is put forth.
    Of course, another lesson that must be taken from this course is that of flexibility. There is definitely a great need for planning, but that planning must be in balance with a deal of flexibility. There is always a possibility in a project that it may be necessary to change criteria, processes, and even goals. A project that has been in the works for a few months can be spun in a completely different direction, and possibly yield more significance.
    For any of this planning and reacting to be possible, it is also very important to have and continue to acquire a great deal of information. Essentially, a project starts and ends with information. The student must start with information: “this is my goal”, or “this is my question”. They then proceed with more information: “this is what I know about my project”, and “this is what I need to know” about my project. Hopefully, by the end, the student should then have the new information of “these are the conclusions that I can make from my project”. The entire process is about information. Without the information at the beginning, there is no way to have good planning. Without that need for acquiring new information (saying: “this is what I need to know”), there can be no project. That is the essence of research.
    The fact that the applied science research project is not only large-scale but novel is the reason that these aforementioned lessons can be so well instilled in the minds of students. These are not just lessons that they learned only for school and for a grade. These are lessons that they had to learn through a great deal of struggle and triumph. The students have learned the lessons doing work that they came up with, which is their own brainchild. These lessons are not something that can be easily forgotten.

  2. John K Says:

    This year in the Applied Science Research Course, I learned many very useful things that can be applied throughout life. This classed opened many doors, in which could allow someone to do great things. I always thought that I excelled in science, until I saw the things other students were able to do. I thought that this class would be a fun thing to do but, not only was it fun, but it was also quite a learning expeirence. This class has opened my eyes to the true meaning of science.
    In the beginning of the year, when the class was first assigned to the task of identifying the blue solution, I didn’t really have anything to bring to the table. The other students had many ideas on different tests that could be run to identify it. This not only taught me different tests that could identify the different traits the solution had, which in turn could help narrow down the options of what the solution could be. This was just the beginning of my journey of discovery.
    The next part of the class, which was the entire point of the class, was to create a novel project. Once again many of the students had already had an idea of what they wanted to do, but unfortunately I had no clue. As I began to look harder and harder for a project I realized that a project could be something huge that could change the world or it could be something as simple identifying that there was fuel in a river. The entire project had to have a reason behind it. Although completing a project of this caliber was very difficult and trying it taught the most important lessons that could be offered from school. It taught me that the labs that were performed in regular science class weren’t totally pointless, but that each had once been a project that someone had invented. If something that someone did as a project could be used in every class in every school across the state, then I could do something that could make a big difference. I just hope that someone else will use my research to better their own and eventually help the world in a positive way.
    The final experience that truly was a life lesson was that although something may be difficult and take along to think up, perform, and present it was all worth it in the end. Many people don’t understand that not only are there awards to be won and prestige to be earned, but what you learn about yourself and the world around you is truly inspiring.
    Applied Research was not only one of my favorite classes of the day, but it was also the class that everyone knew about and defined the class and myself as intelligent beings. This class has no limits, anything is possible, as long as you have the time and determination to do it. When it comes to Applied Science Research, the sky is the limit. You can do anything that you put your mind to.

  3. Gannon F. Says:

    Throughout the course of the year, Applied Science Research has by far been one of the most mentally challenging and interesting classes in the schedule. It tested one’s creativity, intellect, perseverance, and leadership and presentation skills while remaining exciting and fun. This class has been more informative than most other classes because it did not teach a given set of information. It taught the students skills and techniques that will be used throughout life, whether consciously or not. It has given students life experience that many others do not yet have, and as an added bonus it looks good on college resumes.
    In the ASR class, one of the most crucial aspects was being able to present products in front of others. At the beginning of the year, it was not possible to do that without trailing off, mumbling, slurring words, or becoming nervous. After the class, most of these problems disappeared or were decreased greatly. When giving presentations currently, they are presented in a calm, professional manner, making the project look better and more well done.
    Other life skills were acquired as well, such as leadership. The projects in the ASR class were independent, and for the most part, it was up to the student to get the work done. For many school projects and other things in life, students have had help from peers and teachers. It was quite different with the ASR projects as they were novel ideas. The projects that were dealt with over the course of the year had common sciences behind them, though the ideas were relatively unstudied, presenting many obstacles that must be crossed alone. For some, scientists, teachers, and parents were able to help with studies, though it was still up to students to contact them, formulate the correct questions, and continue the project based off the information they gained from the consultations. It was also up to students to simply direct the project. Each was an original idea, so procedures could not be found on-line. The project had to be designed and directed by the student. This was something that was never done before, and it was difficult to start at first. After the task of starting the project was completed, the rest flowed fairly well. Learning to be a self motivator and leader was a key aspect of the ASR project.
    The third important piece of the year’s project was the information that was gathered and applied to the project. The project could not be thrown together based off a hunch or a curiosity. It had to be supported by facts that explained why or why not the project could work. This year’s project was one of the most in depth research experiences ever. Articles were found and read, research reports from other people were analyzed, and countless amounts of information, both basic and advanced, were processed into the project. Research is one of the most important skills needed throughout high school, college, and beyond. The ASR project taught how to correctly research, cite, and interpret information into usable sources.

  4. Amanda W. Says:

    I feel that this year has been a very productive year I have met people that I would have never otherwise known. I have also been able to go on many field trips that have opened doors to me which would have never existed. The Asian shore crab trip helped me be able to get into a program at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, which has made a big difference in my life. The trip to UCONN made me realize I never want to be a botanist, which will help me in a future. Applied science research has also taught me how to present productively so that my points come across to all members of the audience. Presenting is something no matter what I choose to do with my life it will be needed. All these little things will help me choose my future career and life pathway.
    This year has been a great learning experience for me, and has opened my eyes to things I could never have imagined. The knowledge learned from my project “Extraction and Determination of the Presence of Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin in Beef” has forever influenced my eating habits. Learning about the harmful hormones injected into the meat that I would have been consuming, and its effects on the animals and myself, will make me continue being a vegetarian for years to come. I have learned that recombinant bovine Somatotropin gives cows a higher risk of infection which leads to higher antibiotic use. This creates antibiotic resistance in the cows which can be passed on to the humans consuming the meat.
    I have also learned how to conduct scientific procedure I had never even heard of such as polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, nitrocellulose membrane exchange, and other techniques. All of these things have furthered my knowledge in science as a whole and helped me in my other classes. Such as biology where many of the things I have learned have been put to use in labs, this has given me a leg up on my class mates.
    The independence given to me in applied science research made a huge impact on my behavior in a classroom setting. The floating deadlines made me more eager to do my work but in the end I still ended up waiting until last minute to complete it. The fact that we are given the opportunity to choose our project made the class most enjoyable, instead of being forced to right about irrelevant things to me such as the history of foreign lands, I was able to choose a topic that truly interested me. When I actually sat down to do the work I found myself interested in what I was reading about.
    This class is one I usually look forward to coming to, and know that I will learn something new. Some of the things I have learned while not relative to science have been interesting. I have learned suit pockets come sewed together, and must be cut. I have also learned many things from the male point of view, many of which I would like to erase from my mind.

  5. Dylan S Says:

    During the course of this year many things had to have been accomplished in order to achieve goals that each person has set for one’s self. You learn a lot about yourself in this class, as it is mostly an independent class, the teacher there will teach you how to do something a certain way, and he or she may even explain how to use the equipment, but it is up to you to learn what you must do. The teacher is mostly just there for supervision and in some times a mentor. During the beginning of the class you had to select a project, which for some people this might not have been easy. Once the project has been selected each student must teach themselves not only how to carry out the project, but the technical and science behind each step that needs to be done. Much research is put into the projects, and a lot is taken out of that research. New material may be learned every day and changes are constantly made to the experimental design in order to successfully complete your objective. You may also learn how to use different tools and lab materials throughout the year as many projects require you to use different machines in different parts of the project. When most of the research was done, and the experimental design was ironed out, then the testing would begin. Now most put long hours into their tests and some have many different results. When you are finished with the results which may take weeks to months you must learn to organize your results and be able to explain them in technical ways that other scientists will be able to comprehend and discuss with the scientist on the topic. Once all your data is gathered and you learn to organize your results you then put them all together in an organized way to tell a story and explain what the purpose of this project is, and to organize everything so it will flow flawlessly.
    When all the work is done, it is time to present. This is when you learn the most. Everyone goes to different science fairs and over the year you present to many different people from your parents, to judges in the international science fair, if you make it that far. This is when you are tested to the limit and demonstrate everything you have learned throughout the year. You must dress to impress, and leave your judges no less. You use all the skills including presentation skills to keep the judges interested, yet still present your project in the best manner possible. You learn a lot about yourself in the process, and it can be the most rewarding even if you don’t place in any of the science fairs, you still leave with the experience of just being among the top percent in your state.
    This is what most general people learn during the course of the year, though everyone has their own project and learns their own thing, whether it be how to prevent a metal from sparking in a microwave, or how to cool a computer using a different form of liquid cooling, everyone’s project is similar and unique from one another, and it is up to the student to make it spectacular, and award winning.

  6. Charles W. Says:

    This class has by far taught things to me that no other class possibly could. Through all of our experiences, we were all able to take away things that most classes would never teach us in just one year. Academics wise we learned to all design effective posters that displayed information in a relatively nice and organized way. But there were also life lessons through this class.
    The business world around us is all about selling an idea. That is where it begins; first an idea is thought up, then the design of that idea, the creation of that idea next, and lastly the testing and completion of the idea into a completed product. This was all done within the applied research class. When the science fairs came up, it was not an idea we were selling but rather a completed product that could be understood and somewhat applied. That did not mean all of us had a perfect working project. Some did not work so well and some just did not have that pizzazz that others did. For all of us it seemed that we had more testing we wished to do. That is alright as long as you have a logical project and it has almost been completed.
    Though maybe we did not all realize and might have done it poorly for some, time management was an important lesson taught throughout the whole year. If a person were to have poor time management, they would fall behind and for some have almost no chance of catching back up. For some, it was just the laziness that came while for others it was the feeling that not enough time was given while, in reality, not enough time was applied. There is a severe difference between work that has been thoroughly worked on and work that has been just thrown together in a last minute effort. This goes not only for things such as papers but for the actual projects themselves.
    One of the most interesting aspects of being able to attend the science fairs was the fact that we got to see the difference between an extremely well put together project and then the poorly put together ones. Great projects that were winners not only presented work efficiently but also spoke there points across clearly and looked attractive to the eye. By attractive it could mean the poster or the person as my classmates and I all know. Yet in order to really win something big like a science fair you must not make only the poster presentable but also yourself. There were some people that, though I’m sure no judge will ever admit to, smelled terrible which, again I am sure no judge will admit, influenced their decisions. I will not name any names but during the science fair, there was a person near my poster that had such terrible breathes. It stank so badly that the smell floated around the air around and near this person. Despite this nasty factor though, this person was able to win a mathematics award. But if you asked me, I’d say this student had the capability of winning much bigger. Judges are people at the end of the day and though they do judge us on smell, they also judge us on character. All we humans do because it is our natural reaction. At the end of the day, if a person smells, uses a snarky attitude, or is just plain arrogant about their work they have less of a chance of winning big. Honestly, that is the biggest lesson that we can take away from this class. Have an attitude that is nice, courteous and friendly but also serious and ready to do work.

  7. David S. Says:

    David Samuelman
    This year in Applied Science Research one of the biggest things I learned was how to public speak. This is a skill that in any profession it is greatly needed. At the beginning of the year I was very nervous about getting up in front of people and talk about something that I was supposed to know like the back of my hand. The Science Symposium, Connecticut Science Fair, and the Connecticut Expo were all science events that demanded public speaking to educate an audience about your project. All three of these events were great practice and learning tools in becoming a better public speaker.
    Another thing that I learned in Applied Science Research is to not wait for the last minute to get things down, especially very important things like not getting your poster glued on until the Connecticut Science Fair. For my project I did not really accomplish much at the beginning of the year because it was my first year and I did not know what I really wanted to do for a project. When my project was decided what I was going to do, I did not really work as hard as I would have liked until like February. I had the mind set of, no need to worry I have some much time before I need to be done. This was completely wrong, and I found myself like most people rushing at the last minute to get the finishing touches on my project done.
    One of the most important things that I learned over this year course was to learn everything you can about your topic. This was my problem because in the beginning of the year I did not know anything about “biodiesel” or “transesterfication” and this basically continued up until midterms because I had a hard time answering questions about my project. Than by receiving a letter of motivation I started to bring my act together. I started to realize that the science fairs and the Symposium are coming up and I am going to need to know what I am talking about. I really started to stay after school and learn and work on my project and this paid on when I was a finalist at the Connecticut Science Fair and got to miss a day of school and won an award at the Connecticut Expo.
    The most important thing I have learned over this year is that hard work does pay off, and that putting your mind to something can accomplish anything, and having a teacher that is willing to work with you and help you when you are stuck on something. Is always a great thing to have, thank you for everything you helped me with this year.
    Not to mention this year all the things that I learned about my project. At the beginning of the year, I would never had guess that I would know about “transesterfication” and other difficult scientific concepts that a Sophomore in high school is not supposed to know yet.

  8. The Red Wonder Says:

    I believe that this year’s class has taught me more about the real world than I have in any other class ever. I learned how to work on my own, figuring out how to do everything myself. In all of my other classes that I have ever taken, I have been told what to do in a certain situation and was given a cookie cutter problem to apply that solution to. However, in Applied Research, there was no previous study on what I did, so I figured out how to find the solution. No teacher was able to tell me from the start what components I would have to know to be able to solve an equation or to figure out how to pick apart a set of data for what I wanted to use. This class showed me that there is a way to find what one is looking for when the path is not directly in front.
    I had to learn mainly how to research a topic of interest for this class. I had never had to do such an extensive study before in my life, and it has not ever been on what I want, which made this one so much easier because of it. I had never known how to find what I want for my topic online before, as I had just typed in the question and took what was handed to me. I now know that there is a way to find what I want.
    In order for me to finish the project that I had worked on, I needed much help along the way; whether it be from Dr. LaBanca, Dr. Rice, Mr. Bergin or any other person that was near. Many times throughout the year I had the feeling that I was alone and was never going to be able to finish this on my own. However, I learned that there are always people that can help. They cannot always get me out of a tough position, but there are some things that people can do to make the process easier, and do not think it to be a hassle.
    The second largest task that was accomplished in the course of this course was the acquisition of the ability to speak in public. I am not a great presenter, and I am not always comfortable speaking in front of large crowds of people I do not know, but I have learned to tolerate it. In the beginning, I would stutter and forget where I was going the whole time. But now I can communicate the point.
    I have learned how to communicate to people who are professionals in the field of my research. The idea of taking somebody’s email address and finding a way to call them and ask a question on how to find a specific topic to study was a fear of mine at the beginning of the class. This is one of the biggest lessons that anybody can learn in life. The only way to become a successful person in the real world is by presenting yourself well and knowing how to communicate what you need to the person that has the ability to help.

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