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APAC Conference 2014 Writing Research Paper Made Easy: Fact or Fiction Project

APAC Conference 2014 Writing Research Paper Made Easy: Fact or Fiction Project

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APAC Conference 2014 Writing Research Paper Made Easy: Fact or Fiction Project

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  1. APAC Conference 2014Writing Research Paper Made Easy: Fact or Fiction Project Presenters: Andrew Goldenkranz, Kavita Gupta Monta Vista High School, Cupertino, CA 95014

  2. Contact Information:,

  3. Who We Are Andrew Goldenkranz • AP Bio/AP ES/Science and Math teacher for 25 years. • (former) Director, WWNLF CORE summer institute in biology • Author of two related study guides: Jurassic Park, The Hot Zone • SRI research project on Al based interactive textbooks Kavita Gupta • AP Chemistry/Chemistry H/chemistry teacher for over 16 years • NSTA STEM Forum Steering Committee member • Three times NSTA presenter • Teacher leader, Professional development committee member

  4. Why emphasize research writing at high school level?

  5. Employment Data NGSS Common Core Alumni Survey Colllege Board Redesign College Readiness

  6. Total Sample Size= 131, 2012-2013 Alumni Data Supporting the Need for Developing Research Skills in High School

  7. So, we agree that it is important to teach research and technical writing skills. But HOW?

  8. Formation of Research PLC (Professional Learning Community) Identified Common Research Process Examined student work from different content areas with the idea of identifying overlaps, so common research and writing skills can be carried over across the content area Working on a schoolwidescaffolded model of expectations for all 9-12 students

  9. FACT OR FICTION PROJECT: AP Chemistry and Environmental Science Objective The objective of this year-end project is to emphasize research and technical writing skills by finding a related concept in a movie/media clip and testing the validity of its claim by doing extensive research. Expected Products 1. Oral Presentation on Research Findings: Power point or movie with the media clip (under 2 minutes) inserted (7 minutes total) 2. A scientific research paper (with the five components of research) evaluating the validity of the concept through academic research.

  10. Fulminated Mercury The Next Frontier of Explosives?

  11. Video Background • In Breaking Bad, Walt is a high school chemistry teacher turned criminal producing metamphetamine (crystal meth) to sell on the black market. • At one point his partner, Jesse, gets swindled and beaten up by a psychopathic gangster called Tuco. • The following video shows Walt's confrontation with Tuco and subsequent explosion using Mercury Fulminate.

  12. Research Problem Could a small crystal of mercury fulminate really do so much damage?

  13. Properties of Mercury Fulminate -It is prepared by reacting mercury with nitric acid and then adding ethanol. -The crystals are usually brown to grey (due to colloidal mercury) and large crystals are extremely unstable -Pressure changes, vibrations and shock can lead to detonation. The explosive properties can be demonstrated in the lab by hitting a very small crystal with a hammer.

  14. Properties of Mercury Fulminate • insoluble in water • exists as white powder Mercury (II) fulminate comprises two fulminate ions (CNO-) bonded to a central mercury atom. Mercury (II) fulminate is very sensitive because of the instability of the fulminate ion.

  15. Reasons for Instability • single bond is unstable-->immediately break in most reactions • nitrogen will most likely bond with other nitrogen atoms, forming nitrogen gas.

  16. Detonation of Mercury Fulminate • Detonation produces mercury vapour, carbon monoxide and nitrogen. • One explosion pathway could be: 2Hg(CNO)2 → 2CO2+N2+Hg+Hg(CN)2

  17. The explosion

  18. -Ultimately only .9-1.8 kJ of energy received by windows which is not enough to shatter them -Our Verdict based on the research: FICTION!!

  19. “All Drains Lead to the Ocean, Kid”-Fact or Fiction? How accurately does Finding Nemo portray Sydney’s sewage treatment system? Would Nemo have been able to enter the ocean unscathed? And if it was accurate, what would that mean for the water around Sydney’s harbor?

  20. We’ve all seen this scene... So what should have happened to Nemo in those pipes? The video seemed to skim by that part really quickly...

  21. The REAL Sydney Water Treatment Process

  22. Preliminary Treatment Nemo = large solid object He should have been removed at this stage

  23. Primary Treatment Screens Screens that are used to filter out solid waste before treatment have openings anywhere between 6mm wide and 0.2 mm wide. Nemo, an Ocellaris clownfish, would be about 10 cm if he was fully grown. Since he was not, we can assume that he was 2-5 cm big and still would not have passed through the screens… … unless the screen had a hole in it

  24. Secondary Treatment Phosphates- commonly found in fertilisers and washing detergents Nitrates- commonly found in fertilisers, causes eutrophication in excess Clarification- physical water treatment process settles out suspended solids through gravity

  25. The physical and biological parts are done, this is the chemical process. Even if Nemo made it this far, the chemicals would kill him Tertiary Treatment

  26. In the movie this happens... If solid waste really could escape pipes so easily, would Sydney Harbour look like...

  27. “All drains lead to the ocean- Fact! Fact Water going down a drain will eventually reach the ocean; it’s just that there’s a lot more that has to happen before that

  28. Nemowouldhave survived going down the drain- FACT! It is entirely possible that Nemo would have survived until he reached the primary stage of treatment, assuming that the drain in the sink had a large enough opening

  29. So, what’s the rest of the story? A factual version of this would presume Nemo escaping through a broken or failed screen during preliminary treatment. . . So, next step would be to find out the durability and failure rate of the mechanical separators and screens installed in large municipal plants.

  30. Process of Research Identify an area of interest Search sources for relevant information No valid resources found Evaluate Resources Can not answer the question, invalid resources

  31. Process of Research

  32. Begin Research Research Resources: MV Library:

  33. Choosing a Topic

  34. Choosing a Research Question Good Resour Example of too broad a topic: Is there a material that can pull the weight of an average sized human without breaking? Example of too narrow a topic: What is the numerical value of the tensile strength of a nylon-based material? Or too narrow…

  35. Databases: Primary Sources Primary Sources: Academic Journals with original research Jstor ( on using jstore Choose Advanced Search Combine keywords with “AND” (already displayed) When you open a record, click on the “Summary” tab to help decide if an article is useful. Create your own log-in to save searches. EBSCO Electronic Database • Limit your search to “Full Text” • Check off “Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals to limit your search to primary sources. • Try narrowing your search by combining keywords by “AND” • Create your own log-in to save searches. Google Scholar • Go to: • Choose Advanced Search. • Use a combination of keywords and/or phrases. • Choose Subject Area for search > Chemistry and Materials Science

  36. Databases: Secondary Sources Secondary Sources: Articles reporting on various research • Use Google wisely: • Use effective search strategies to find relevant results. • Evaluate each website to make sure that it is reliable. • Fill out an evaluation form for each website used. Find the form in the lower right hand side of: Scientific American Magazine: Popular Science Magazine: ChemMatters Magazine Online (type into Google to find link); published by ACS EBSCO Electronic Database • • Choose “Science Reference Center” • Expand your search by adding databases: TopicSearch, Newspaper Source, Health Source, and Mas Ultra

  37. Synthesis Document Finding Fact or Fiction Supporting Argument #1 Include intext citation Supporting Argument #2 Include intext citation Supporting Argument #3 Include intext citation What further research and evidence do you need? Conclusion Limitations Credit: Adapted from document created by Susan Marks What are your next steps?

  38. Google Doc for Collaboration and Writing the Research Paper Video on Google Docs: Good Resource on Google Docs:

  39. Lessons Learned • Start small and jump in, jump out • “Chunk”ing the research paper or break them into smaller activities: • Read literature- teacher models and students create research questions • Evaluate Resources- activity on what is primary, secondary or tertiary resource or use annotated bibliography • Synthesis- organizing ideas using Google docs or synthesis document • Optimizing group size for size of task • Research Product- oral presentation with power point (minimizes writing)

  40. Lessons Learned Contd. • Pre-approval Form: Helps students be organized and fights procrastination • Use benchmarks to organize time • For Skill/Content -Teacher Check-Ins -Revision • Procrastination Avoidance/Stress Management -Completion Check • Seek help and collaborate with the other teachers since research is done in EVERY discipline.

  41. Overwhelmed….don’t be, because it can be done! • An email from a fellow teacher who used this project FOR THE FIRST TIME from the AP listserv : Thank you for sharing the project with me.  My students enjoyed it although they said it was a lot of work. Here is a link to one of my students projects. • Chem Final Project Paper- Breaking Bad.docx - • And the accompanying video • Have a great summer we still have one more week. Dame Forbes Huntington HS DAME FORBES [DFORBES@HUFSD.EDU]