Scientific Research | Summer: Galapagos

Department Lead: Julie Munoz
Room: 210
310-378-8471 Ext. 43230

Science Research Program Overview

Science Research is a one-to-four year sequential course designed for highly motivated students to advance an understanding of research. Emphasis is on both laboratory and bibliographic research and will cover the Next Generation Science Standards for experimental design. This course engages students to work in conjunction with research scientists and professionals within their field of work. Students create their own unique investigative question, create a research plan, conduct their own experimentation, write a research paper, analyze past and present scientific research for scientific methods, and discuss solutions to current dynamic issues.

Students can undertake their independent research in mathematics, life sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, computers, or social science. Students are taught the process of online bibliographic researching. Student commitment to long-term focused research, demonstrating initiative, perseverance, and creativity is fostered.

Science Research is offered as a Period 7 course where students meet monthly at lunch and by individual conferences with the teacher. All PVHS Science Research students compete at the local PVPUSD Regional Science and Engineering Fair. The top 13 projects advance to the Los Angeles County Science Fair to compete for awards and prizes with the opportunity to advance to the California State and Intel International Science Fairs.

Award-winning PVHS Science Research Program

Los Angeles County Science Fair
PVHS researchers compete at a high level and have won numerous awards including cash prizes, an Earthwatch expedition trip and a trip to the State Science Fair for placing in the top 3 in their respective categories.

California State Science Fair
Five PVHS students advanced to the California State Science Fair in 2015. One student placed 1st and won state in the Microbiology Field.

Summer Science Research in the Galapagos Islands

Are you interested in studying Blue-Footed Boobies? Have you ever dreamed of observing the Galapagos Giant Tortoise in its natural habitat? Did you know that there are Marine Iguanas found in Galapagos that are found nowhere else in the world?

The Galapagos Research Expedition is a summer program that includes a ten day research excursion to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands that focuses on the ecological niche of organisms through observational studies. This is an intensive course in the use of field-based and general research methods related to Galapagos wildlife. The aim of this course is to help participants acquire skill and gain experience in using research techniques and give an in-depth study into the history and biodiversity of the Galapagos Islands. The emphasis of this course is on the collection, management, analysis and interpretation of data and information about the Galapagos Islands with relevance to evolution, natural selection, and adaptation.

The format of the class will include a range of activities: class discussions of course readings, collaborative analysis of data, small group exercises, lab exercises, talks by local island naturalists and Charles Darwin Research Station scientists and lectures by the instructors. Students collect data on the ecological niche of a selected organism and prepare a written research paper based on their data and observations. Students earn an entire year (10 credits) of high school Science Research credits and can earn an optional 3 units of college credits from Lees McRae College in North Carolina.