Columbia University

Summer Research Program for Science Teachers

Ditta V. Korbeogo

Samuel J.Tilden High School, Brooklyn, NY

How to prepare for a science symposium



AIM: How do I prepare myself and my team for a science symposium?

This lesson unit is an application of the techniques of research that would be taught at the beginning of the school year. It is intended that this unit should be a miniature model which reflects the stages of scientific research of a graduate student from his research topic assignment up to presentation of his/her work and thesis defense.


Students should be able to:

1. use the techniques taught in class to research literature to obtain background materials for their topics.

2. design experiments to test their hypotheses.

3. organize their research presentation in a systematic manner: introduction, materials, method, results, conclusion, further research .

4. prepare transparencies for presentation

5. use the overhead projector in their presentation

6. cite literature and provide experimental evidence to defend the finding of their research projects.



1. Topics will be assigned to teams of students

2. One piece of literature will be provided on each topic -students will search the internet and use scientific journals for information on topics.

3. Class time will be allotted for students to design their experiments.

4. Training in the use of the overhead projector and in oral presentation will be done

Student’s Sheet

Testing Our Hypotheses


This exercise will be conducted over a period of six(6) weeks, ending in a science symposium. [Teaching Standard D- Structure time for extended investigations]


1. Design an experiment to test the hypothesis/hypotheses you have developed from your topic. [9-12 Content Standard A- Design and conduct scientific investigations]

2. Do your experiment(s) and collect the relevant data over ta period of two(2) weeks.

3. Prepare (a) a written report (b) an oral report for presentation accord to the format given.


Week 1. Literature research on topic.

Week 2. Development of hypothesis/hypotheses and design of experiment(s).

Weeks 3 and 4 Conducting experiments and collecting data.

Week 5 Preparation of written and oral reports.

Week 6 Science Symposium. [9-12 Content Standard A- Communicate and defend a scientific argument]

Group size 4 students


a) literature monitor

b) internet navigator

c) recorder

d) "experimenter"

The role will be defined in class. Roles will be alternated during this 6 week period.

Positive Interdependence:

The members of a team should ensure that each member understand the list of tasks.

The members of a team should help each other in their literature research. [Teaching Standard E- Nurture collaboration among students]

Individual Accountability

Each team member is responsible for his/her learning and notes taking.

Each team member should contribute 2 pieces of literature on the assigned topic.

Expected Behavior

12-inch voices in team meetings

100% attendance at team meetings.

Criteria for Success

All teams will be awarded 5 bonus points on the mid-term examination.

The 3 top teams will be given special awards.

UNIT EVALUATION The success of this project (unit) will be evaluated by students peers and a panel of teachers.


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