Contributing to Scientific Understanding


    NEW Course! “Getting involved in research is such a valuable experience, particularly when students lead their own exploration. I’m so excited to provide students with an encouraging environment to develop their observational skills and create something amazing!” ~ Prof. Emma

    Please note: Prof. Emma’s schedule is currently in flux. If this course’s time needs to be changed (possible, although unlikely), parents will be notified.



    Step 1: Register Your Student

    Step 2: Enroll Your Registered Student

    Contributing to Scientific Understanding
    InstructorProf. Emma Stein
    Content LevelsGrades 9-10 • Lower High School
    Grades 11-12 • Upper High School
    Course Length16 weeks
    Live Webinars Held OnThursdays, 1:30 - 2:30 PM Pacific - 8/15/24 - 12/13/24

    Do you want to get involved in real science but don’t know where to start? Are you ready to practice your scientific thinking skills in unusual ways? Do you love projects?

    You can contribute to scientific understanding too!

    It can be very difficult for students to find opportunities to participate in scientific research and practice the skills they’ll need to confidently approach questions in the future. This course provides students with a variety of avenues to pursue their interests and create something tangible!

    This course provides students with opportunities and guidance to tackle any or all of these project types:

    • A literature review/review article on a subject of their choice
    • Utilizing iNaturalist to participate in monitoring, notice patterns, or learn how to identify species
    • Editing Wikipedia articles to contribute to public scientific knowledge
    • Creating a science communication blog or website, for fact-checking, sharing knowledge, or something else
    • Something else that students are interested in! Prof. Emma is available to guide students through project creation regardless of what form their projects take.

    All students will participate in some form of nature journaling to help them practice identifying patterns in their local environments.

    Webinars will consist of two components: a discussion of students’ projects and opportunities to learn about an interesting marine creature/ecosystem/phenomenon. Group discussions will take place in an encouraging and curiosity-cultivating environment to help students find new directions for their projects and tackle any roadblocks.

    This course is intended for students who are looking for practice with scientific skills by getting involved through more unusual avenues. If your student is ready to undertake an independent scientific research project–including a literature review, scientific article, and research presentation–Marine Biological & Ecological Research Project may be a better fit for them. Please email Prof. Emma with any questions!

    What to expect in the classroom:

    • Resources to help students identify projects that interest them and learn more about different techniques.
    • Opportunities to collaborate with classmates.

    What to expect during the webinars:

    • Webinars are 50 minutes long. Webinars are recorded and are available for students with schedule conflicts.
    • Guided discussions are provided during live webinars.
    • Active Participation (via the microphone and chat) in online class discussions.

    Before taking this course, students should be able to:

    • Write at a junior high level or above.
    • Write several paragraphs independently.
    • Read scientific articles in marine biology and/or ecology (not required, but highly recommended).

    Students should be willing to:

    • Actively participate (via the microphone) in the class discussion.
    • Encourage class discussion by adding their questions/ideas in the chat window during the webinar.
    • Respond with positive and encouraging comments on their classmates’ posts in the classroom forums.

    Required books & materials:

    • There are no required books and materials for this course—readings will depend on the student’s project.