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Course Catalog

Course Catalog

Honors Interdisciplinary Science I

Interdisciplinary Science for 9th grade. Through a unique interdisciplinary curriculum, students will explore the scientific connections between physical, chemical, and biological systems. Overarching topics will weave together the major themes of energy, change over time, structure/function, sustainability, and the nature of the universe. Taught by a core team of Ph.D. instructors, students will develop understanding of fundamental concepts essential to scientific inquiry. Each primary lesson will incorporate classroom work, intensive laboratories, and associated enrichment activities, including; laboratory site visits, scientist seminars, journal clubs and interactive videoconferences. Students are expected to be active, collaborative learners who will engage in the process of science: formulating questions, developing and testing hypotheses, and presenting results. Throughout the course, students will connect the history of scientific discovery with current, ongoing research. These activities will serve to expand and connect content to the Vanderbilt scientific learning community and beyond.

MNPS Course Code: SCI6801 F and SCI6801 S
Credits: 0.5 units per semester
Prerequisite: Physical Science and admission to the School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt

Honors Research I

Summer research for rising 10th grade. “Introduction to Research” is based on Interdisciplinary Science I content with emphasis on hands-on use of research tools across disciplines. Methodologies for observation, data collection, and analysis will be explored in greater depth with a focus on cross-discipline application. Students will form teams to investigate a question of interest, integrating learned research tools and techniques. Project questions will be developed by the teams with faculty advisement. Students will be required to participate in weekly online discussion forums during which they will post project updates and exchange constructive criticism of each team’s activities. Teams will present the results of their projects in a seminar format at the conclusion of the course.

MNPS Course Code: SCI6802
Credits: 1.0 unit
Contact Hours: 3 weeks
Prerequisite: Interdisciplinary Science I

Honors Interdisciplinary Science II

Interdisciplinary Science for 10th grade. Students will further their research skills taught in IS I for formulating scientific inquiry. In this accelerated, multidisciplinary course, students will investigate several of the top 125 “Big Science Questions” as identified by leading scientists in “Science” magazine. Questions such as “What can replace oil and when?” and “What is the biological basis of consciousness?” will be explored in their broad scientific context, and then deconstructed to identify the research threads leading to the question. The interdisciplinary questions will be examined based on the physical, chemical, and biological basis of the problem. Individual research leads will be explored through journal discussions and presentations by scientists who are contributing to the understanding of these “big picture” questions. The team-taught curriculum will consist of core lessons which explain current knowledge and theories applicable to their physical, chemical, and biological bases, advanced laboratories emphasizing team building, peer teaching of current events and student roundtable discussions. Students will also work with faculty to identify and develop a summer team research project as part of R-II.

MNPS Course Code: SCI6811 F and SCI6811 S
Credits: 0.5 units per semester
Prerequisite: Interdisciplinary Science I and Research I

Honors Research II

Summer research for rising 11th grade. Students will be paired with scientists to explore their research proposal created during the previous course, Interdisciplinary Science II. Their topic, based on a research thread from one of Science magazine’s “Big Science Questions,” will contribute to the overall understanding of one of the 125 most important questions, as identified by top scientists world-wide. Students will work through all aspects of the scientific method to design, test and verify their results. They will present their findings in a community forum, through oral and poster presentations. The course builds on critical thinking and communication skills from IS II, and emphasizes real-world science applications.

MNPS Course Code: SCI6812
Credits: 1.0 unit
Contact Hours: 3 weeks
Prerequisites: Interdisciplinary Science II

Honors Interdisciplinary Science III

Interdisciplinary Science for 11th grade. Ongoing scientific research at Vanderbilt will serve as the foundation for this third course in the interdisciplinary science sequence. This course will emphasize an in-depth examination of current research by VU/VUMC science, biomedical science, engineering and mathematics faculty and scholars using the in-house “Lens” and “Exploration” journals as a foundation. These publications provide comprehensive, detailed coverage of cutting-edge research pursuits such as math modeling of the cochlea, nanotubes, lasers, HIV, buckyballs, Orion’s winds, and microfluidics. The course material will be integrated with faculty discussions, group projects, and site visits to associated laboratories.

This course will also prepare students for their summer research internship. Students will be introduced to all aspects of research with particular emphasis on experimental design, statistics, ethics, writing and communication. IS-III will ultimately introduce students to the investigators who will serve as their mentors for their summer research project and students will work with the investigator to prepare a formal research proposal prior to entering the laboratory.

MNPS Course Code: SCI6821 F and SCI6821 S
Credits: 0.5 units per semester
Prerequisite: Interdisciplinary Science II and Research II

Honors Research III

Summer research course for rising 12th grade. It is an intensive eight-week internship with a Vanderbilt/Vanderbilt University Medical Center faculty mentor in which students will complete individual research projects. These projects will center around the research proposals students complete during Interdisciplinary Science III. During this internship, students will work full time in the laboratory to perform all aspects of research, maintain a research journal, and participate in supplemental learning sessions taught by the adjunct teaching corps comprised of postdoctoral fellows and advanced graduate students. These sessions will stress scientific communication, critical analysis, and applications of research to real-world situations. Research findings will be communicated in an end-of-summer poster session for all students as well as senior year national science competition entries and manuscript submissions for journal publication.

MNPS Course Code: SCI6822
Credits: 1.0 unit
Contact hours: 6 weeks
Prerequisites: Interdisciplinary Science III, discretion of School Director

Honors Advanced Research

Advanced research for 12th grade. This course immediately follows Research III (summer research internship). Students will continue and complete their research project and communicate outcomes. Students will prepare and submit their projects to one or more national science competitions (Intel Science Talent, Siemens/Westinghouse, etc.) as well as submit a manuscript for submission to an in-house research journal and potentially for national publication. Students will adapt their research to community outreach via a personal outreach project (POP). A POP proposal will be submitted to a faculty advisor for approval. Projects may be of an individual or team nature. Research must be translated appropriately for target audience. A minimum of 20 hours of outreach service is required. Examples could include serving as a student scientist in a K-6 MNPS classroom, creating videoconference sessions and School website multimedia, developing hands-on science kits, etc.

MNPS Course Code: SCI6833 F and SCI6833 S
Credits: 0.5 units per semester
Prerequisite: Interdisciplinary Science III and Research III