The Junior Research program at The Charter School of Wilmington gives high school students with an interest in math and science an authentic, in-depth experience in scientific research. Introduction to Science Research class is a sophomore class requirement that teaches basic research and laboratory skills. The class fully prepares students for topic selection, background research, experimental design, data collection, and data analysis. Upon completion of the class, students will be ready to conduct the experiment for their topic, collect and analyze data, and draw conclusions. The experimentation and data collection takes place over the summer. Data analysis, paper writing, and poster and oral presentation takes place in the Fall of the student’s junior year. Students are often matched with mentors and in some cases, practicing science professionals, as they research and actively investigate a specific scientific topic. The project gives every student at The Charter School of Wilmington the opportunity to experience long-term learning practices that build self-reliance and confidence.
The addition of the Junior Research Science project as a high school requirement by CSW has been hailed and embraced by the local science community (i.e., Christiana Care, Astra Zeneca, Verizon, Delmarva Power, Ashland Inc., DuPont, etc.) All students are also required to participate in the Science Fair during their 11th grade year.
CSW was named a 2019 Blue Ribbon School with a group of 362 other schools. CSW was first recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School in 2013.
As a new Blue Ribbon School, The U.S. Department of Education visited the Junior Science Fair in January 2020 and created a video to highlight the event and our Junior Research program. CSW was one of only five high schools in the nation to receive this additional honor.
CSW created a Nanotechnology Lab to support a Nanotechnology class thanks to the generosity of the Longwood Foundation and Christiana Care Health Systems. Students have access to a scanning tunneling microscope, a scanning electron microscope, an atomic force microscope, a manual sputter coater with pump, and a benchtop vibration isolator platform. A magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) Teaching System was also purchased. Sophomores and juniors participating in our Junior Research program are able to use this equipment as well.