SPARK - Course Details
SPARK - Science for Middle School
SPARK Course Details
SPARK courses expose students to the intellectual concepts and processes of scientific topics that are taught at Brown University. The courses are “inquiry-based” and “experiential”. The students conduct experiments, explore, and make their own discoveries. Inquiry-based instruction means that the students themselves – by asking appropriate questions – seek out knowledge, information, and scientific truth. This approach assures that the students gain a deep conceptual understanding of complex scientific phenomena. SPARK students learn science from the ground up by first focusing on the basics, and continuously reaching further to earn deep understanding of the more advanced concepts. By exposing the students to this type of inquiry, they not only learn how to think critically, but also get hands-on experience of how scientists conduct research.
NOTE: SPARK is a two week program. Students select either one 2-week course or two 1-week courses.
All students who successfully complete their course(s) will receive a Course Performance Report and a Certificate of Completion.
Leadership activities, talks, and discussions are woven throughout the two week period. Students will engage in teambuilding activities, do group work, and reflect on how scientists collaborate effectively. By interacting with graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the sciences at Brown, students will learn about many possible careers in science. They will also learn the importance of being an effective communicator through writing and persuasive speaking. Additionally, students will be confronted with ethical dilemmas that scientists might encounter such as doing research on weapons or stem cells. The objective is for students to grow into socially responsible and science-savvy citizens.
In addition to spending three hours per day in their science classes and learning about leadership, students take part in extra-curricular activities where they interact with students from other courses. The extra-curricular activities include field trips, other more general science experiments referred to as “inquiry-activities”, and lectures on diverse topics such as Space-Time Travel, Neuroscience Fundamentals, or Elementary Particles. In the evenings, they have “down time” to enjoy recreational activities; examples are laser tag, bowling, rock climbing, and participating in the ever popular talent show!