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									    THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT
ANNUAL CONFERENCE ON CASE STUDY TEACHING IN SCIENCE
                 September 27, 2008




                 Christa L. Colyer

       WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY Winston-Salem NC
THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT


The “Typical” Research Paper :
THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT


Traditional research paper vs. “Mini Research Project”
Common goals:




Mini Research Project goals:
   THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT


An Example – Mini Research Projects in “Everyday Chemistry” CHM 108:


> Syllabus
        >> Assignment
                >>> Scheduling & Topics

                          >>>> Focused readings

                                      >>>>> Focus questions

                                               >>>>> Assessment
   THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT


An Example – Mini Research Projects in “Everyday Chemistry” CHM 108:


> Syllabus
        >> Assignment
                >>> Scheduling & Topics

                          >>>> Focused readings

                                      >>>>> Focus questions

                                               >>>>> Assessment
THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT


An Example: The Mini Research Project
              THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT


               An Example: The Mini Research Project
Learning Objectives
CHM 108, Summer I, Worrell House, 2007 (Colyer)
Unit I: The Fundamentals – Origin of matter, chemical
elements, atomic & molecular structure, nuclear chemistry.
1.1.              Define and differentiate between isotope and
                                  Unit II: Medicinal Chemistry.
radioisotope, and understand the significance of mass numbers
                                  2.1.              Know that atoms bond together to form molecules
and atomic numbers and their relationship to subatomic
                                  by sharing electrons to form chemical bonds, and that the order in
particles. Also, be able to define transmutation and induced
                                  which atoms bond together and the overall structure of the
radioactivity.
                                  resulting molecule determines its functionality and many other
1.2.              Understand the fundamental origins of matter
                                  physical properties.      Unit III: Biological Chemistry & Biotechnology.
according to the Big Bang, beginning with hydrogen fusion in
                                  2.2.              Define “drug” and understand the drug describe the structure of DNA
                                                            3.1.              Understand and
stars.
                                                            and be able to identify its basic building blocks.
                                  classification system, including safety, social acceptability, origin,
1.3.              Define and differentiate between fusion and
                                  and biological activity. 3.2.               Discuss the process of discovering the structure
fission, and be able to provide examples of each type of                                 Unit IV: Atmospheric & Environmental Chemistry.
                                  2.3.                      of DNA, including the roles of key such
                                                    Describe modern drug synthesis methods,players such as Watson, Crick,
reaction.                                                                                4.1.              Recognize ozone, and differentiate this from molecular
                                                            Franklin, and Wilkins.
                                  as the lock-and-key model, natural product drug discovery, and
1.4.              Be able to write balanced equations illustrating                       and atomic oxygen, and know the function of ozone in the stratosphere.
                                  combinatorial chemistry. 3.3.               Understand the function of the human genome,
various types of radioactive decay, including  and  decay and                          4.2.              Explain the function of ozone in the atmosphere.
                                  2.4.              Define “chemotherapy,” and recognize different
                                                            DNA, genes, chromosomes, and codons.
 radiation.                                                                             4.3.              When provided with chemical equations constituting
                                                                              Be able to and cancer.
                                                             including bacteria, viruses, describe what “recombinant DNA” is,
                                  disease causing agents, 3.4.
1.5.              Know the relative penetration power of ,,                            the four steps of the Chapman Cycle, be able to explain their
                                  2.5.                      and       process by which it is created. Also, define the roles of
                                                    Know about the discovery of penicillin by Fleming
and  radiation, and recognize these as various forms of                                 significance, particularly with respect to protection of the earth from
                                  in 1929, and understand plasmid DNA and the resulting “vector.”
                                                             the implications of this drug for human
ionizing radiation.                                                                      harmful UV radiation.
                                                                              Be of penicillin against
                                  health. Also, know the basic mode of action able to describe what a “transgenic organism”
                                                            3.5.
1.6.              Understand the concept of the half life of a                           4.4.              Know how ozone levels are measured, and know the
                                  bacteria.                 is and what “gene therapy” is.
radioactive element……                                                                    typical units of measurement (Dobson Units). Also, know representative
                                  2.6.                      3.6.              Define PCR (polymerase
                                                    Differentiate between nucleoside derivatives and chain reaction), and
                                                                                         values for “normal” ozone levels.
                                                            explain its function and the
                                  protease inhibitors as potential antiviral compounds.process by which it is conducted.
                                                                                         4.5.              Identify synthetic and natural sources of chemicals that
                                                            3.7.              Differentiate between cloning, in vitro fertilization,
                                                                                         act to destroy ozone, and be able to describe the process by which
                                                            genetic engineering, and recombinant DNA.
                                                                                         ozone destruction occurs. In particular, be able to discuss the impact of
                                                                                         chlorine (and bromine) in the atmosphere on ozone levels.
   THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT


An Example – Mini Research Projects in “Everyday Chemistry” CHM 108:


> Syllabus
        >> Assignment
                >>> Scheduling & Topics

                         >>>> Focused readings

                                    >>>>> Focus questions

                                              >>>>> Assessment
   THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT


An Example: The Mini Research Project
   THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT


An Example – Mini Research Projects in “Everyday Chemistry” CHM 108:


> Syllabus
        >> Assignment
                >>> Scheduling & Topics

                          >>>> Focused readings

                                      >>>>> Focus questions

                                               >>>>> Assessment
   THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT


An Example – Mini Research Projects in “Everyday Chemistry” CHM 108:
   THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT


An Example – Mini Research Projects in “Everyday Chemistry” CHM 108:


> Syllabus
        >> Assignment
                >>> Scheduling & Topics

                          >>>> Focused readings

                                      >>>>> Focus questions

                                               >>>>> Assessment
   THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT


An Example – Mini Research Projects in “Everyday Chemistry” CHM 108:

 Medicinal Chemistry Unit

 Drugs Affecting the Nervous System:

 1) Hallucinogens and cannabinoids – e.g. LSD and marijuana –
 discuss effect on neurons; chemical structures; illicit and medical
 usages.

 Focus Question:
 ? Does the fact that LSD is a derivative of a natural product and
 marijuana is, itself, a natural product, affect users’ perceptions of the
 safety of these drugs, and should the law differentiate between natural
 products and synthetic drug molecules?
   THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT


An Example – Mini Research Projects in “Everyday Chemistry” CHM 108:

 Medicinal Chemistry Unit

 Principles of Vaccination:

 1) Small pox and Edward Jenner
 2) “Modern” vaccinations (e.g. Lyme disease, HPV)

 Focus Question:
 ? What controversies surrounded Jenner’s smallpox vaccination and
 how do these resemble or differ from concerns about vaccinations
 today? What role does socioeconomic status, religion, geography
 and/or other factors play in the decision to vaccinate, and should
 governments be able to mandate vaccinations?
   THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT


An Example – Mini Research Projects in “Everyday Chemistry” CHM 108:


> Syllabus
        >> Assignment
                >>> Scheduling & Topics

                          >>>> Focused readings

                                      >>>>> Focus questions

                                               >>>>> Assessment
THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT
    THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT

CHM 108 Everyday Chemistry, Student Evaluation Form
Please complete the following evaluation form for each student presentation. Be as objective as possible in your
evaluation and be as specific as you can in your comments. Students will receive a copy or summary of your
anonymous comments.
Evaluator’s Name: ________________________________________

Presenter’s Name & Topic:
______________________________________________________________________

Evaluation Criteria:
1. Overall presentation style and presentation quality:
excellent     very good       good                      average                      below average

2. The presenter’s command of the subject matter and basic facts underlying his/her theme was:
excellent   very good     good                      average                     below average

3. The presenter’s ability to explain the significance of her/his theme, and its relevance to our other unit(s) of
study was:
excellent   very good          good                      average                      below average

4. The presenter’s ability to facilitate discussion of his/her focus questions was:
excellent   very good           good                       average                  below average

5. Things the presenter did that were very particularly effective:

6. Things that might have improved the presentation:
THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT

Strategies for success:
▫       Provide “focus question” models early (and frequently) in regular
        lectures
▫       Provide very directed reading(s) for each mini research project
▫       Create schedule for all presentations at the outset of the class
▫       Invoke topical and current or “popular” project ideas
Options:
▫       Students can work in pairs or small teams
▫       “Themes” can involve lab work
▫       Theme topics can be selected by students or assigned from a list
▫       Can require readings of all students or just the presenter
▫       Suitable for freshman “general” classes to major/grad classes
THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT


Limitations or Challenges:
Traditional Research Paper
End-of-semester presentation block poses scheduling challenge
(boredom?); grading challenge
Students don’t necessarily see interrelatedness of all subjects, and master
only one subject

Mini Research Project
Requires instructor to find focused research resources for each topic
Schedule & topics must be established early in the semester (and must
coincide with known in-class coverage)
Earlier presenters may be at a disadvantage?
Students not experienced in posing “focus questions” or leading discussion
THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT


Benefits or Advantages:
Traditional Research Paper
Opportunity for student to conduct in-depth research over time
Doesn’t require large investment of instructor’s time

Mini Research Project
More content coverage/exposure for all students
More clearly illustrates relevance of research papers to regular content
Forces students to identify key questions of importance
Breaks up class schedule for variety/interest
Spreads grading out throughout the semester
THE MINI RESEARCH PROJECT

								
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