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Grade 10: Interdisciplinary Science II

Grade 10: Interdisciplinary Science II


Building on the students’ interdisciplinary connections, the Interdisciplinary Science II course leads students toward more autonomy and involvement in the scientific process. Throughout the year, students begin to build their scientific literacy through reading and discussing relevant short scientific essays, articles, and books with their peers. For the majority of the fall semester, student groups take part in faculty structured research projects like the Purple Sea Urchin project featured in the above video.

One such project guides students to investigate geological formations and fossil records at a park near Nashville in order to make hypotheses relating to the geologic history of Mars. Students collaborate with the Mars Student Imaging Project, which is co-sponsored by NASA and Arizona State University. Through this project, students are able to direct THEMIS, a Mars imaging camera, to photograph choice regions of the planet for further analysis.

In another project, students work in small groups to sequence the GAPDH gene from endangered plant species. This project exposes students to ecology, molecular biology, and bioinformatics as they use DNA to structure evolutionary relationships among plants and link this information to possible implications on conservation efforts. Upon successful sequencing of the gene, students publish their sequences in GenBank, a genetic sequence database.

These structured projects serve as a bridge to the second semester, which is focused on a group project in a field of their own interest. Students work together with a faculty advisor to come up with a topic, relevant research methods, and hypotheses, culminating in a presentation of their work to their peers in a seminar format at the end of the year.

In the summer following 10th grade, students will participate in the Summer Research II course.