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Whale Camp

Ecological Field Research & Scientific Writing

Course Description
Plans for the summer? How about carrying out your own research as a community scientist? The inquiry process, also known as scientific investigation, starts with wonder - asking questions, gathering and analyzing evidence, drawing conclusions, and sharing your work. Ecological relationships and biodiversity exist in all ecosystems: marine and terrestrial, wild and urban. Wherever you are, you can engage in the scientific process. Students will have the opportunity to contribute to the existing body of scientific knowledge through this course by designing and implementing their own research studies. Students will also have the option to complete additional coursework to qualify for college credits!

Dates: July 13 - 20, 2020
Meet Monday - Thursday mornings virtually from 10:30-11:30am ET followed by daily field inquiry activities and research projects design/collection offline. 
Optional afternoon sessions from 4:00-5:00pm ET for community time (Monday and Wednesday) and structured activities (yoga, painting, trivia, design projects - Tuesday and Thursday).

Cost: $500* for three week program
*College credit option is additional cost. 

Weekly Themes

Week 1: Experiencing Inquiry in Ecology and Biodiversity
  • Ecology and Biodiversity
  • Community and Citizen science projects
  • Mini-investigations
  • Collaborative or independent project brainstorming and building

Week 2: Designing and carrying out research projects
  • Methodology and materials
  • Research team check-ins with instructors/local researchers
  • Data collection in the field
  • Beginning to analyze data

Week 3: Synthesis and Sharing Research
  • Statistical methods and graphical presentation, developmentally-appropriate
  • Preparing research presentation
  • Presenting to audience! (Weds night instead of lecture series)
  • Celebration of learning 

Additional work for college credit option
  • Graded presentation and participation
  • Graded article synthesis 
  • Leadership role in any group projects
  • Required research paper
  • Scientific writing piece from multiple perspectives

A Day in the Course: 
Day 4: Project building 
  • Shares findings from mini-investigations earlier in the week
  • Using scientific method as a template, students begin to build on research questions to design their study with feedback from instructors 
  • Discuss materials and methods for study
  • Finish designing study for following week’s review
  • Prepare to get out into the field and answer those research questions!

The Whale Camp, Inc. | 54 Academy Rd., Kirkwood, PA 17536 | Phone: (610) 399-1463