Senior Seminar

Central Virginia Governor's School
Senior Seminar Course Syllabus
 
Instructors: Dr. Douglass, Mrs. Douglass, Mr. Howard, Dr. Jones, Mrs. Shifflett, & Dr. Smith
 
Course Description
The Senior Seminar course provides students with the opportunity to continue developing their individual research skills, to learn more about current topics in science and mathematics, and to use sophisticated technology that is part of the modern research setting. Students pursue topics on an individual basis and in small groups. 
 
Course Objectives
Students will:
Develop research skills by pursuing an individual or team project under the guidance of a faculty member.
Develop laboratory skills needed to operate sophisticated technology by utilizing the equipment available in the Governor's School's technology laboratories.
Develop communication skills by working in groups, preparing article summaries, lab reports, and research reports.
Explore current topics in science, mathematics and technology by reviewing current research.
Develop time management skills for working in team situations and for planning and completing designated tasks.
 
Technology Laboratories
The Governor's School provides numerous opportunities for students to learn how to use sophisticated laboratory and computer equipment.  Students rotate through the laboratories during the six-week periods of the school year.  Students review relevant literature, learn terminology, theory, and applications related to the laboratory, demonstrate competence in using the laboratory equipment, and complete a project.  Instructors provide guidelines for the exploration and assessment of each laboratory.  
3D Design & Print
Biotechnology
Cyber Security
Drone Technologies
InDesign & Yearbook
Leadership, Teamwork, & Communication
Microbiology
Mobile App Programming and Design
Light and Nuclear Science
Photoshop 
Robotics
Scanning Electron Microscopy 
Scientific Photography
Video Production
 
Laboratory Safety
Students will complete the “Safety for Senior Technology Laboratories” indicating their understanding and compliance with the safety rules.  This signed document will be kept by the Senior Technology Seminar Coordinator. Each lab is unique and may include further instructions concerning safety and proper procedures to be disseminated by each instructor. 
 
Caring for the Equipment
The equipment in the technology laboratories is research grade, sophisticated, and expensive.  Students using this equipment need to acquire the proper skills to operate it effectively.  Students must follow the guidelines of their instructors in learning how to use the equipment, demonstrate proper use of the equipment before using it.  Never perform any operation unless you know exactly what you are doing. If you are not sure of what to do, ask your instructor.  It will protect you and the equipment. The technology labs provide Governor's School students with the opportunity to explore sophisticated technologies, a privilege not available in regular high school programs.  The laboratories represent a substantial monetary investment and opportunity for student at CVGS.  All students need to care for the equipment in the laboratories to ensure that future students will have the same opportunities.
 
Grading
The instructors create and implement the curriculum and grading rubric for each Senior Seminar Technology experience.  Each seminar is unique and so the grading is determined by each instructor.  Some common assessments may include, but are not limited to, skill checks, article summaries, quizzes, online assignments, lab reports, and final projects.  
 
Attendance
Students must sign in by 7:30 am each Friday at the designated location as determined by the instructor of that Senior Technology Seminar.  Students will also sign out at 10:10 am, or later, each Friday at the conclusion of the Seminar.  There is no “pre-signing” nor signing for other students.  Failure to sign in or sign out properly, or signing for someone else, may result in point deductions at the discretion of the instructor.  Up to 10% of the Senior Seminar course grade is participation and attendance at the discretion of your instructor. 
Senior Technology Seminar Tech Lab independent time (MWTh) is considered part of the Senior Seminar Tech Lab course.  Tardiness to Senior Seminar Technology Lab (MWTh) may result in deductions from the student’s course grade.  Students must sign in to the attendance notebook each day. Furthermore, students must make up any work missed during an absence.  Any work due the day the student was absent is due the next day the student returns to school, unless prior arrangements have been made with instructor. Long-term projects are still due as scheduled.  Work turned in more than one week late will not be graded. 
 
Proper Use of Senior Tech Seminar Lab Time
Students are given the freedom and opportunity to work on projects or assignments of their choosing in many different locations in the CVGS building during their assigned Senior Seminar Technology Lab time.  This time should be used for working on Senior Seminar or other CVGS course projects and assignments, getting help or advice from staff members or other CVGS students, or, if time permits, working on other academic assignments.  Improper use of Senior Tech Seminar time includes, but is not limited to, such activities as playing computer games, sleeping, and excessive socializing. 
 
Honor Code
Students are required to pledge all work according to the CVGS Honor Code found in the CVGS Student Handbook.  Assignments without the signed pledge will be returned to the student not graded.  The student can then pledge the work and resubmit it as late work.  Any submitted work violating the CVGS Honor Code will receive zero credit.
 
Descriptions of the Technology Laboratories
 
3D Design and Printing
Students explore concepts and techniques for designing 3D objects and using Makerbot Generation 5 software to import their models. Students also learn how to use the 3D printer to create prototypes, sample products for testing, and design using objects using multiple platforms such as Tinker cad and Sculptris. Students have the opportunity to use the 3D digitizer scanner and will complete a final project.  
 
Biotechnology 
Students learn research protocols for isolating and identifying DNA and gene sequences.  Projects include extracting their own DNA, identifying disease with ELISA Assay, creating microscope spread of cancerous cells, and Forensic Crime Scene Analysis of DNA.
 
Cyber Security
Students learn the principles of cyber security, safe practices, and practical applications. The computer training software is designed to encourage students to learn more about cyber security and equip them with the skills necessary to protect themselves and others from potential risks. Students work together to address cyber threats and devise methods to protect from attacks. All cyber security lessons are conducted in a controlled and safe environment using an isolated network. 
 
Drone Technologies
Students learn about the laws, regulations, and safe use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). Students will explore concepts such as how to sync and set control systems for the drones and perform “missions.”  Students will conduct experiments to determine acceleration rates of a drone landing and taking off. Students also research the current and future uses of drones. 
 
InDesign 
Students explore the realm of electronic page layout and produce documents using the desktop publishing platform of Adobe InDesign. The students will focus on learning the basics of InDesign and then create several projects using the program.  Students interested in working on the CVGS yearbook must take this lab during the first semester. 
 
Leadership, Teamwork, & Communication
This tech lab is designed to allow students to encounter, reflect on, and discuss thoughts about concepts and skills in the areas of leadership, teamwork, and communication. Students will have opportunities to demonstrate the application of the knowledge and skills acquired while playing a starship bridge simulator game called Artemis. 
 
Microbiology 
Students learn proper microbiology lab protocols with aseptic technique.  Microbiology labs include Gram staining, dilutions, and streak plating.  Final project involves independent projects in making cheese. 
 
Mobile App Programming and Design
Students learn basic programing using App Inventor which is a block-based programming environment that is accessible to people at all levels, from novice to advanced programmer. It’s open source, which means it is available at no cost. Additionally, it’s web-based, so students can program from the browser of any device, including Samsung Chromebooks.
 
Light and Nuclear Science
Students explore radioisotope characteristics and applications with scalar rate meters interfaced to Geiger tubes. Students also investigate atomic spectrums from gases and measure photon energy emissions. Students also learn gamma ray spectroscopy with nuclear scintillation systems. Students will also have the opportunity to detect alpha, beta, and gamma radiation counts at different distances and explore effects of different shielding techniques.  
 
Photoshop 
Adobe Photoshop is the predominant photo editing and manipulation software on the market. Its abilities range from full featured editing of large batches of photos to creating intricate digital paintings and drawings.  Students have the freedom to work independently in various locations while editing and completing assignments.  
 
Robotics
Students learn robotics through instruction and self-directed learning via online lessons and activities which include step-by-step instructions. The lessons integrate math and science and provide opportunities to code technology and engineering. Students will also have opportunities to investigate robotics using project-based learning and building and programming robots. 
 
Scanning Electron Microscopy 
Students have the opportunity to explore the basic concepts and techniques associated with studying the ultra-structure of biological and physical specimens using the CVGS Hitachi N3400 scanning electron microscope. Photoshop is used to enhance prints from specimen micrographs. 
 
Scientific Photography 
Students learn how to digitally capture images and use Photoshop to produce images of objects or phenomena that occur at high speeds – things that the human eye normally cannot see. Students use sound, light, or contact triggers to trip electronic flash units that capture the image, or they may use strobe photography for analyzing phenomena over a longer period of time.
 
Video Production
The availability of low cost camcorders, video editing software and YouTube allows anyone to generate videos for any number of personal or professional uses. Students will conceptualize, film, and edit videos.