Young researcher case study…
At Southampton high school I was lucky enough to meet one of their keen research students who had actively chased Greg Metzger about getting involved with a project. As a keen aquarist he very much wanted to know the best conditions to breed healthy fish. However, it went deeper (!) than that as he looked into it further. This became the seed of a research project for Bayron Alverez, a 12th grade student at Southampton who has been working with Greg Metzger to gather data on the subtle changes to an environment that affects the growth patterns of clownfish. Within the marine science research lab he has been able to grow algae which is the basic foodstuff of the very young clown fish. He has learned how to plan experiments and think about the wide range of variables that will affect his project.
Bayron is a guinea pig for the school’s research program as it has recently changed and developed in terms of resources and scheduling. He has been given more freedom in designing his own project and, as he sits at a workstation in the marine science research lab he looks very much like a grad-student working in a university lab. Actually he is learning some spreadsheet skills to help plan his data collection, something he says he would not necessarily have learned in the classes he had opted to take this year.
Baryon is well into his literature review which he is conducting parallel to setting up the first set of experiments. He is really happy how other teachers have supported his project and hopes to be able to work through to graduation next April/May. Bear in mind, he is a 12th grader, so is also in the middle of college applications. For those that are doing long term projects, often once the offers are in they lose interest – not so with Baryon – he is convinced that this project is going to help him get into college to pursue his interest in marine science and oceanography.
Having been scheduled time in his timetable for lab research, and making full use of the ‘open lab’ policy of Mr Metzger, Baryon says he still has time for his regular classes, homework and other activities. He says the support of the teachers and school within school time means he has the expertise of Mr Metzger and their resident aquarist to call on. His efforts are also respected as being more than an ‘extra’.
Baryon seemed genuinely excited about the opportunity to work with the fantastic research lab at the school, I wish him the very best with his project.