High school students are challenged to complete original and independent research that is characteristic of college-level courses under the mentorship of collegiate and private industry researchers.  WCA students will generate a research question, conduct a literature review, collaborate with content-area experts, develop an hypothesis, collect and analyze data, and present original research at an annual Student Independent Research Symposium.


Science Research in the High School

The Science Research in the High School program is a unique opportunity for students to experience the rigor and rewards of real scientific research while still in high school. The program  is designed to provide students with an understanding of research methods in the sciences. The program is directed to those students who have a keen interest in science and would like to pursue excellence and progress into areas of original research. Students must be highly motivated and able to work independently. Emphasis is on both exploratory and bibliographic research. Students are taught the process of online bibliographic researching and are able to access various scientific databases. Group seminars plus individual consultations with support personnel are provided. Students' commitment to long-term, focused research demonstration initiative, perseverance and creativity is developed and fostered. Summer work activity is also required.


Students choose a topic of interest and construct an original experiment using a mentor of their choice to assist with their research. These mentors can be working scientists from the private or public sector, or college professors from local colleges and universities. The mentor and the Science Research Course Teacher/Advisor will jointly be responsible for the students' grade and carefully monitor all steps in the student's progress. Each year the program is successfully completed, the student will earn one elective credit toward graduation. 


This program affords students the opportunity to participate in the community of scientific research and scholarship as part of their high school experience.  It furthers excellence in performance and achievement while drawing from and developing scientific capabilities of the student.  Students taking this course accomplish the following:

  • They choose and explore a topic of interest.  It may come from mathematics, physical science, life science, or engineering. 

  • They develop skills in using the Internet’s electronic mail capabilities to conduct on-line bibliographic searches of international data bases.

  • They find and study several journal articles, eventually choosing one that they will present to the class.

  • Their presentation to the class emphasizes how research described in the article was conducted.  Thus, the scientific method, which is the essence of the research course, is made explicit for the student and the class.  The elements of the method always include the following:

            1.       A review of the literature

            2.       A statement of the hypothesis or the problem

            3.       Methodology

            4.       A presentation and analysis of the results

            5.       A discussion of the data presented

            6.       Conclusions

            7.       Bibliographic work and footnotes