The Syllabus is presented below and here as a .pdf.

Course Description

The entire year in Science Research is dedicated to performing an independent research project. Each student's topic is decided by the student and can be from any field of science, math, or engineering. The year will begin with a few weeks of lessons on how to write a research proposal and how to conduct authentic scientific research. Students will then write a research proposal and find a mentor. Upon approval of the proposal and the securing of a mentor, each student will proceed with their project. Students will give regular progress reports to their classmates in a setting that will resemble a science conference. The final product will consist of a poster board, a PowerPoint-style presentation, and a research paper. Students are encouraged, but not required, to enter their project in the PPS Science Fair and other competitions or exhibitions.


While the title of the course is “Science Research,” each student’s project may be in science, technology, engineering, or math. Project may also have an artistic component.


There is no textbook for this course. Students will find their own readings.


I communicate with my students frequently by e-mail. It is essential that I have your correct e-mail address and that you check it frequently. Whenever you send me an e-mail, put the topic of the message and your period in the subject line.

Learning Standards

The Next Generation Science Standards have three dimensions: The Disciplinary Core Ideas; the Cross-Cutting Concepts; and the Science and Engineering Practices. This course will primarily deal with the third dimension. 

From the NGSS:

The eight practices of science and engineering that the Framework identifies as essential for all students to learn, and describes in detail, are listed below:

1. Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)

2. Developing and using models

3. Planning and carrying out investigations

4. Analyzing and interpreting data

5. Using mathematics and computational thinking

6. Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)

7. Engaging in argument from evidence

8. Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information

Since each student would conceive of, plan, and conduct their own project, the Disciplinary Core Ideas and the Cross-cutting concepts would vary with each project. But every project would thoroughly use all eight of the Practices of Science and Engineering.

Literacy, Writing, and Speaking Expectations

While this is a science class, it will include reading, writing, and public speaking. Students will be expected to read scientific sources and write summaries and reports using high school writing standards. Students will also present progress reports and a final report in a science conference setting. 


Successful completion of freshman year and recommendation of a science or math teacher.

General Expectations

I expect you to come to class prepared each day and be actively engaged from bell to bell. Take the responsibility to “plan your work and work your plan.” Recognize if you are not finding and get help. Set up a meeting with me or come in during Tutoring Time.

I aspire that this classroom be a supportive learning community. This takes the participation of everyone in the class. I want our classroom to be a place where everyone is included and where everyone feels safe to share their thoughts and ideas. We will often work in partners and groups. I expect each student to take responsibility not just for his/her own learning, but also for his/her colleagues’ learning. When we support each other as learners, we learn more deeply ourselves. 


The following materials are required for this course:

1. A research journal. A simple spiral notebook is fine.

2. A hardback three-ring binder.

3. Pencil, pen, paper.

Each student will also need supplies to conduct their project. I will work with students to provide supplies as necessary.


Students must have a signed PPS safety agreement on file in order to participate in lab work. Safety will always be a top priority.

Attendance and Punctuality

Regular attendance and punctuality are imperative to success in this course. 

Tutor Time

Tutor Time will be used to provide access to lab equipment, tutoring, and consultation with the instructor. 

Student Accommodations

The very nature of this course allows students to pursue a project on their own terms. If students need accommodations, they should make their needs clear to the instructor. 


Most students will work with a mentor. A major goal of the first month of the course is to find an appropriate mentor to help the student with their project.

Assignments and Tests

In a sense, there is just one assignment for the entire year in this course: Do a research project that you are highly interested in and motivated to do. Present this work in a meaningful and appropriate way.

In order to help students find success, we will have the following assignments:

1. Each student will keep a journal.

2. Each student will check in with the instructor once every two weeks. Be prepared to present your journal and discuss your successes, challenges, and plan for the next two weeks.

3. Each student will have a detailed Research Proposal due about one month into Quarter 1.

4. Each student will give a progress report to the class at the end of Quarter 1, 2, and 3.

5. Each student will give a final presentation during Quarter 4.

6. Each student will create a grading rubric for themselves.


Each student will assign and justify their own grade using the rubric they created consistent with the following final proficiencies:

Ability to design, plan, and conduct research in the fields of science, math, or engineering.

Ability to communicate in a science-conference setting.

© Joseph Minato 2018