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Why Should Students Do Research Projects?


Learning science involves learning important concepts, conducting experiments to see first-hand how researchers discovered and confirmed some elements of science concepts, and learning how to think scientifically. With this complete approach to learning science, students are well-prepared to deal with the natural world around them and to make wise decisions when confronted with various choices. The ability to think scientifically is a valuable skill in almost all aspects of life and doing science teaches scientific habits of mind.

Students can do science through research projects beginning early in their education and continuing through the rest of their science education. Doing a research project requires a student to work through the complete scientific method. In so doing they are required to think rationally, to become comfortable with qualitative and quantitative data, to use mathematics to do analysis, that to reasone their way to conclusions. These abilities join with those for effective communication and functioning with other people and result in a complete intellect ready to contribute to society and race the challenges that lie ahead with reason.

Learning facts and reenacting past experiments in the lab do not teach these thinking skills. Doing engineering projects teaches problem solving but do not inculcate the ability to think scientifically. To learn science, one must do science.

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