0800h ED21A-0087 Peer Mentoring to Facilitate Original Scientific Research by Students With Special Needs James M Danch [email protected] Colonia High School 180 East Street Colonia, New Jersey 07067. Abstract. Methods. Results.
0800h ED21A-0087 Peer Mentoring to Facilitate Original Scientific Research by Students With Special NeedsJames M Danch
[email protected] High School
180 East Street
Colonia, New Jersey 07067
Developed to allow high school students with special needs to participate in original scientific research, the Peer Mentoring Program was a supplement to existing science instruction for students in a self-contained classroom. Peer mentors were high school seniors at the end of a three-year advanced science research course who used their experience to create and develop inquiry-based research activities appropriate for students in the self- contained classroom. Peer mentors then assisted cooperative learning groups of special education students to facilitate the implementation of the research activities. Students with special needs successfully carried out an original research project and developed critical thinking and laboratory skills. Prior to embarking on their undergraduate course of study in the sciences, peer mentors developed an appreciation for the need to bring original scientific research to students of all levels. The program will be expanded and continued during the 2007-2008 school year.
1. Formation of initial concept.
2. Discussion with Special Education teacher.
3. Presentation to administration. (week 1)
4. Assignment to seniors – Develop a simple experiment to introduce the idea of a control.
5. Experiments evaluated. (week 2)
6. One experiment chosen.
7. Experiment modified by instructor.
8. Experiment submitted to Special Education teacher for approval. (week 3)
9. Assignment to seniors – Develop an activity to introduce students to concepts and equipment needed for experiment.
10. Assignments evaluated.
11. One activity chosen.
12. Activity modified by instructor.
13. Activity submitted to Special Education teacher for approval (week 4)
14. Activity carried out by student mentors. (week 1)
15. Laboratory Experiment carried out by student mentors (week 2)
16. Second experiment chosen.
17. Second experiment modified by instructor.
18. Experiment submitted to Special Education teacher for approval. (week 3)
19. Experiment discussed with student mentors.
20. Initial phase of experiment carried out by student mentors. (week 4)
21. Second phase of experiment facilitated by Student Mentors (week 1)
22. Data collection continued (week 2)
23. Data analysis facilitated by Student Mentors (week 3)
Fig. 5. Sample comparative data generated by peer mentored students.
Fig. 4. Sample comparative data generated by peer mentored students.
Table 1. Levels of Inquiry modified from Schwab (1962) and O’Herron (1971).
The goal of this program is to move students from level 0 to level 4.
Background on the Existing Science Research Program From Which Student Mentors Were Selected:
Started in 1987 and modeled after traditional mentor-driven graduate research programs.
Funded via state grants, student grants and school district budget.
Expanded to 3 high schools after development of curriculum guide (Darytichen and Danch, 1999).
Avoids many limitations of traditional “Hands On” science classes.
Students choose topics of personal interest.
Students work to obtain original results.
Creativity is fostered.
Three-year commitment allows students to explore topics in greater depth.
Allows high school students to add to the body of scientific knowledge.
The author would like to thank:
Mr. Frank Darytichen, Science Supervisor
Mr. Robert McLaughlin, Principal
Mrs. Dorothy Ponte, Science Department Chairperson
Mrs. Linda Rockmaker, Special Education Teacher and her students.
Student Mentors: Kevin Paszinski, Zain Paracha, Shamik Patel, Mike Partyka, Divya Patel, Vanessa Pizutelli, Melissa Toledo
Ms. Laura Hemminger, Director, Center for School and Community Health Education and the UMDNJ School of Public Health for poster printing
Fig. 1. Science Research student peer mentor.