May 9th, 2006 by Frank LaBanca, Ed.D.

Welcome to the 57th International Science and Engineering Fair in very international Indianapolis, Indiana. After arriving by jet plane, we took the five Connecticut finalists to the exhibition hall to set up their projects. Each adult was assigned to a student; I, of course, to Drew. Jonathan, Jason, and Alex were almost instantaneously finished. Each had a completed board – Jonathan and Jason were actually printed on one large page and affixed to the board. Drew had decided to increase the size of his board, and also wanted to include some new information that he had after the project was shipped. His initial “affixing” of the pages was somewhat disheveled. It was not asthetically pleasing. I helped him reorganize so there was a logical and attractive flow. He had to reprint several pages due to spelling mistakes.

Pratishka was busy reassembling as well. Choosing almost every color of the rainbow, she affixed her pages to very colored paper. It had a fun, but jumbled feel to it. I think it works well and it matches her perky personality. Sandy and Pratishka were struggling on how to affix the two boards together, but I quickly disassembled a booth so we could have some clean material to lay the project down on and folded some cardboard to a structurally appropriate form, taped it with duct tape and finished the setup.

Message? Students do things in very different ways. Each will have a finished product – the way they got there was very different. Drew’s procrastinating tendencies were actually rationalized based on what we had done the previous week in the lab.

May 2nd, 2006 by Frank LaBanca, Ed.D.

I recently completed and received approval for an IRB proposal to study exemplary science research students. The study will be qualitative. I am hoping to find an insight into their creative processes that I have not noticed or have overlooked. Perhaps a pattern in the students’ responses will lead me better. I am taking Ralph’s advice: put your questions to nature. So what is high school scientific creativity and how do we promote it? I think the key is to ask questions that are relevant to creative thought as well as the nature of science. I think I will bring the USRT as well, and have the students complete that.

Here is the current question battery:

The Process

Describe the process you went through to get your idea for your research project. How did you go from a general idea, to a focused problem/project? What were some of the rewards? Obstacles?
What are some of the frustrations with research?
What kind of advice would you give to another student who wanted to conduct research?
Many students conduct research, yet your project was selected to represent the state of Connecticut? What makes you more successful than all of the other students?


What is creativity?
Are science and creativity related?
How are you creative?
When are you creative?

The Scientist

What are some words to describe a scientist?
What are some words that don’t describe a scientist?
What does a scientist look like?
How are scientists different/similar from artists/musicians? Journalists? Politicians? Wait staff? Salespeople?
How are you different/similar to students who don’t conduct research, but may be of similar intellect?How are you different/similar to students who do research but have less experience than you do?
How are you different/similar to your mentor?
If you were going to run a lab, what would it be like?

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