How to Begin Your Own Chemistry Research Tutorial
Picking a Research Topic to Present
- Identify a research group that interests you (this may be your own research group) and see if the professor is interested in participating in the project
- If you are not familiar with the research, ask for papers to give you an idea of the specific research you will be covering
- Talk to graduate students in the group to give you ideas and help explain things that might not be clear to you
Breaking Down Information and Meeting the National Science Education Standards
- Look at the standards for physical science in grades 5-8 and 9-12. These can be found at http://www.nap.edu/books/0309053269/html/ Section 6, pages 176-181 and Section 6, pages 149-155.
- Note a graduate student from another research group who made his own section on TSTS said he found it easier to look at the existing research topics covered on the site to determine what “level” to pitch the information at. While you cannot change the research of the group you want to present, this project (TSTS) works best when at least some aspect of the material can be related to the National Science Education Standards. Without this connection it may be harder to get teachers to use TSTS, as they are usually required to teach to at least some standards, and have limited time for extra activities/material. Looking at them even after you get started may give you some new ideas about how to convey concepts of the research.
- Start to brainstorm about a theme for grades 5-8 and grades 9-12 that fits within the standards. Be creative. It may seem like a stretch at first, but it can be done.
- After you have picked a theme for each division, check it out with the professor.
- Begin breaking the theme down into small parts-each part will serve as a page in your tutorial.
- Note - a graduate student from another research group who made his own section for TSTS said he used the same strategy to do this as he would to prepare a talk. “I outlined all of the relevant concepts and then organized concepts together if they focused on the same theme. Then I tried to make pages around those themes.”
- Think of questions you can ask that will get the students thinking and include them in as many pages as you can I called them “Things to Think About”
- Look for interesting graphics, games, or any other flashy material that will help the students enjoy their tutorial while still learning.
Organizing the Material
- If not familiar with web design, see Adobe GoLive Directions Link
- Follow the flow chart below to design your website. More specific directions with respect to each section are given below. (An example of the organization of a tutorial on TSTS can be found here)
- Main Page of Research Covered create a main page for the research group with a brief summary of the research and links for sections 5-8, 9-12, acknowledgements, and teachers corner. A picture of the group is a good addition to this page.
- Index Page for Grades 5-8/9-12 - create an index page for grades 5-8 and 9-12. This page should contain links to every page within the section, the main page of the professor, and a link to home.
- Pages within Grade 5-8/9-12 each part that the information has been broken down into will serve as a page within the grades 5-8 and 9-12 sections. Using a template is the best way to maintain a similar format. A menu bar along the side of the page with links to all of the pages within that section is helpful.
- Things to Think About Pages (TTTA) - these pages are encountered as links throughout the tutorial. They take the viewer to a new page where the topic presented is explored further.
- Research Environment TTTA Pages - these pages present information about the research environment, such as where, how, and who does research. After completing several implementations of TSTS in middle and high school classrooms we have determined that is important to accompany the text with pictures or some other type of graphic to help grab the students attention.
- Teacher’s Corner Page the teacher’s corner page should include a more detailed account of the research being covered and links to information on teaching the material for grades 5-8 and 9-12, and a link to the professor’s main page.
- Teachers Corner Material for Grades 5-8/9-12 this page should include links that explain: topics to be previously covered before introducing the material, National Science Education Standards met in the lesson plan, where the research fits in to the high school text, and resources to help further understanding of concepts, such as links to websites.
- This is where the National Science Education Standards come into play. The teachers will likely look at this part of the site first, to see if they can justify using the website with their limited free time.
- Acknowledgments - include an acknowledgements page where you can note people that have helped you and cite where you got info/pictures/graphics.
Editing a Draft of the Website
- Once you have put together your website, have high school science teachers look at it and make suggestions. They will be able to tell you if something is over the heads of students that age. Make revisions according to their suggestions.
- Have the major professor look over the website and make corrections.
- After you have revised the website consider observing a computer lab full of students as they navigate through your website.
- Lastly, have a teacher in your area test it out in their classroom.
View TSTS for ideas or as a guideline