|The group prepares for their project presentation.|
The group in question came to see me at the beginning of the year to ask me if they could do a project based around the Ebola and MERS viruses, both of which were very much in the news at the time. Obviously, this would not make for a suitable lab-based project for high school students! However, I was keen to let them pursue the topic of their choosing, and spent some time thinking of a way for them to undertake a suitable project. I then proposed to the students that they should carry out the following:
- Background research into the aetiology and epidemiology of Ebola and MERS viruses
- Develop a questionnaire to investigate the knowledge, awareness, and attitudes around these diseases
- Undertake a pilot study to test their questionnaire
- Revise their questionnaire based on the findings of the pilot study
- Carry out a larger survey of other students, as well as members of the general public
- Develop a website, based on their research, in order to publicise their findings and raise awareness, as well as providing them with a tangible product at the end of their project
At the beginning of the project, when I suggested that they design a website to display their results, the group was initially sceptical since none of them had any web design experience. However, they took the plunge and, using Google Sites, created a very nice website which can be found here.
|A screenshot from the students' website.|
Towards the end of their project, the group was very happy to be selected to display their work for a visit by the Royal School Award committee. To top things off, following the end of year project presentations their group was declared joint winners!
|The group's display for the Royal School Award visitors.|
My feeling is that this project was a great success and has reinforced my view that science projects need not be lab-based in order to provide students with a valuable science learning experience. Additionally, the students themselves gave very positive feedback regarding the project. I would be happy to supervise similar projects in the future.