Honors Biology 2 Introduces New Research Project 

Andrew Wang, Science & Tech Writer

Science Department Chair Kim Hudson has incorporated an unprecedented research project into the Honors Biology 2 curriculum. This project will double as the students’ second semester final exam, which they will work on throughout the school year.

   Students are tasked to create both a written and visual piece on a topic that interests them, for example, a research paper and poster. As of now, students have finished producing a “driving question” that characterizes their upcoming research.

   Hudson said that the importance is the driving question and how it contributes towards the students’ success. 

   “If I had just assigned a research paper, someone could have just picked something about mushrooms because they like mushrooms,” Hudson said. “That might be interesting, but it doesn’t answer a broader question. The goal behind it is to definitely focus on something that interests you, but to also formulate a question that requires you to pull in multiple threads of information to build a bigger picture.”

 

 

   The project is designed to mirror a long-term research project in a college level biology course, which the students are being exposed to now. 

   Hudson said that the project revolves around building skills specific to conducting research. 

   “I want students to practice using scientific papers, or primary literature, because it is a shock to go off to college and suddenly have to use those kinds of resources,” Hudson said. “There is a lot of vocabulary and assumed knowledge, which can be intimidating. I want them to be more comfortable with the discomfort because it’s never going to be comfortable, even for professors and doctors.”

   The project also touches on the importance of writing for scientists, which is frequently overlooked as a key aspect of the field.    

   “Students generally underestimate how much time scientists spend writing,” Hudson said. “I want to chip away at the preconceived notion that scientists or people doing science are not communicating in this way. Students definitely do it in literature or other writing classes, but document-based, scientific writing is a style on its own.” 

   The Honors Biology 2 classes are exclusively composed of seniors, making this project more useful to the futures of those who want to pursue fields that require research. Looking forward, students will gather preliminary sources to begin conducting research on the topics they have selected. In the second semester, they will present their work to their respective classes.