Have you ever been so consumed by a project that it takes up all your spare time? For the last few weeks, a group of 20 girls from 8th standard have been working very hard on research projects for a city-wide research competition, City as Lab. In this activity, students had to develop a research question, design an investigation to answer it, carry out the research, and then write it up as a formal research paper. Since we are always pressed for time at ALF, all the research work had to take place outside of regular ALF class time, meaning that students had to come to work on four Saturdays, and spend all their independent study time at ALF on their research projects.
Our first task was to go through some basics–what research is, what a hypothesis is, why we have to test hypotheses. To provide girls with some inspiration about things they could research in the city, we took a short walk round our local area.
Then, girls spent time deciding a topic they’d like to investigate, and coming up with a research question.
Over the next few weeks, girls worked on their research with the careful guidance of their teachers. The various groups studied a wide range of things in the city, including particulate pollution levels, acid rain, biodiversity, ideas about diabetes, and ideas about the causes of sickness.
After weeks of hard work, students had collected data; however, the work was not over, as they still had to write their research papers! Girls were very dedicated to writing up their papers, and by and large managed to stick to the formal requirements–each paper had to have an Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion section.
We submitted the papers on Friday, and now anxiously wait to hear whether any groups from ALF will be called to present their papers at the final conference in South Mumbai in a couple of week’s time. All girls are excited about attending the conference and meeting other student researchers from across the city.
Take a look at the research papers–we think they’re pretty impressive!