The prestigious science-based research competition is an essential component of The School’s seventh-grade science curriculum. Each student identifies a question of personal interest, designs a method to gather data, analyzes that data (and gathers more if necessary), and determines conclusions. Students conduct their investigations outside of class, and have in class time to brainstorm, design and fine-tune methodologies, and engage in the rigorous writing/revision process, which includes weeks of formal peer review. This year, students spent five months working on their investigations.
“It definitely was not a one-man job,” Keenan-Kurgan said of the process. Her research took her to Central Park to study how habitat affects the diversity and number of bird species in different areas. She looked carefully at tree density, depth of leaf litter, nearby water sources, and additional variables to draw her conclusions.
“There were two main phases: Figure out the science, and then figure out how to communicate it so it makes sense. It can make sense to you, but maybe not to everyone; it’s hard to look at your own work that way. A lot of people in class helped me with that,” Keenan-Kurgan said.
As part of the honor, Keenan-Kurgan will attend a ceremony at the AMNY on Friday, May 31 with the other 11 winners, and she will also receive a cash award. She looks forward to camp in Maine and time at her grandmother’s house (where her interest in birds took root) this summer.
In addition to Keenan-Kurgan, TSC had another YNA seventh-grade finalist, Minerva Johar, and 16 semifinalists, all listed on the YNA website.
Congratulations to Claire, science teacher Laura Dignon, and all seventh-grade faculty and students!