Arizona: Applying the Scientific Method to Real-World Research Projects

Cibola High School (Yuma Union High School District 70)

With a powerful broadband connection, upgraded internal Wi-Fi network, and many new Wi-Fi access points, Cibola High School has wholeheartedly embraced digital learning – and seen impressive results. Now that the students use Chromebooks and Canvas, the school has drastically reduced what it spends on paper and textbooks; online testing happens quickly and smoothly; and students with busy sports schedules can complete assignments ahead of time.

When a Cibola science class attended a neighboring school’s science fair, the students asked for a similar experimental science class at Cibola. The teachers and principals then created a class where students can learn how to apply the scientific method to real-world research projects. The students were thrilled.

Now, says one teacher, instead of asking students, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” she asks them, “What kinds of problems do you want to solve?” She sees students taking more initiative as they learn critical thinking and problem-solving skills. In class, students can do on-the-spot research to find primary research papers, access online databases, and use Skype to learn from mentors around the country. Student research projects range from creating a genetically modified strain of cotton (and using drones to monitor their crops) to creating a synthetic sickle cell to learn about oxygen levels and pain reduction. According to one student, “This class has taught me how to think.”

Source: EducationSuperHighway