This 15-hour intensive session will introduce rising 6th- through 8th-graders to the role of computational and communications technology in modern science. Participants will use several modeling tools to investigate authentic scientific problems. Following an introduction to computational science, students will learn how to create computational solutions to problems such as population dynamics, predator-prey relationships, and the spread of diseases. Following this introduction, participants will collaborate with other students to create and use a computational solution to one or more problems from a large collection of case studies. Independent work will be done with the support and guidance of Shodor Foundation scientists and interns. Scientific expertise among Foundation staff includes physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, the environmental sciences, and biomedical studies.
The workshop will involve formal lectures, structured hands-on labs and activities, visits by practicing computational scientists, and the opportunity to work collaboratively with other students on a small research project. Careful observations and reporting of those observations will be emphasized at all times.
Participants work both in teams and individually in a supervised, hands-on learning environment. Each day they learn about new scientific approaches and tools and then have the opportunity to try them out for themselves in our computer lab.
Students often do not have the opportunity to experience the tools and techniques that drive cutting-edge scientific research. In fact, most school science curriculums hardly mention the revolutionary new approaches modern science uses daily to research such areas as galaxy formation, volcanic eruptions, cardiovascular activity, the spread of disease, and a host of other interests. This workshop is designed to expose the participants to the high technology environment in which most scientists now work and the specialized critical thinking and communication skills they must have to be successful there.
All activities take place at the Shodor offices at 807 East Main Street, Suite 7-100, in Durham, North Carolina. Participants have access to laptop computers with internet access.
Participants should be rising 6th - 8th graders or the equivalent and interested in science. While some experience with computers is helpful, it is not required. It should be noted that the emphasis of this program is science, with computers being used as a tool to help with the investigation of interesting scientific events.