During this fall semester, our Science National Honors Society visited Arizona State University to learn about Human Origins. This in depth discussion was led by an University student that shared the story of how we became human. There were multiple molds of different species skulls. We talked about the differences and close similarities each one had when compared side by side. Some major differences were the nasal cavities and the area behind the eyes. Each different aspect helped the species in that way, such as the gorilla. The gorilla has a large jaw that helps it crunch down the mass amounts of food it has to eat everyday, while the human had a smaller jaw because they don’t put so much work into chewing. Overall, this was a great experience, because the graduate student there was able to answer all of our questions and furthered our understandings of Human Origins.
For my community outreach, I took a field trip to Arizona State University where I learned about human origins. We met this nice young woman, who talked about her area of study, which is anthropology. It was very interesting to hear from someone who is involved and passionate about the actual subject itself. I got to look at a various number of skulls from creatures that included humans, gorillas, orangutans, and even our early ancestors. It was very fascinating to look at all of the skulls and then compare the similarities and differences of each. In addition, I also enjoyed learning about the different characteristics you can pinpoint to each one just from a specific feature they have. The study of human origins is very important because it relates directly to us and helps explain more about us as a species. Overall, I had a lot of fun on this trip and am very thankful I got the opportunity to go.
As a Community Outreach project, I got to help make and put together an enclosed canopy around the Burrowing Owl burrows that were made earlier in the year. This whole process was to was to make sure the owls do not fly back to their original burrows, and have them get accustomed to their new homes. The process will ensure the owls will stay in protected areas to help stall or even increase the decreasing population of these owls. Setting up and help building the cages wasn’t as hard as I thought, but the overall process did have many steps as well as dangers. With the group I was in, we had to set a layer of chicken wire down around the perimeter of the burrows, making sure the ground was leveled, and set metal frames on top of them, and then cover the wire with sand. Chicken wire was in place to make sure the owls don’t dig around or dig out. We’d later hammer in stakes in the corners and duct tape them with the frame to make sure it was secured and so the owls will not get stuck between the gaps. Covering the frame with a tarp was the last step where we would then fold in the sides, secure the tarp to the frame, pick a spot for the feeders, then cover the rest of the sides with sand. The experience was overall informational, including information about burrowing owl protection and the importance of relocating these owls due to habitat loss. I personally enjoyed this trip and gained more knowledge about the process of relocating ever owl to its new enclosure.
Sundance Science Fair
Being a part of SNHS at Youngker High School has given me plenty of opportunities to contribute to the community I live in. Earlier this semester, I had the opportunity to go to Sundance Elementary School to act as a judge for their science fair, where me and other SNHS members were able to grade younger students’ projects. The projects we saw and graded were all unique; many displayed levels of creativity I found surprising for kids their age, and some brought up questions I’d never even thought about. I was very impressed by many of the projects and would love to do it again. It was a great experience to take the time to analyze all the different projects students had come up with and give feedback on what I liked and where I saw the students could improve in the future.
Sundance Science Fair
At the Sundance Science Fair, I graded projects made by students of all elementary and middle school grades. Although I’ve already gone to similar events, I really enjoyed going. It’s fascinating to see the interesting ideas that the students come up with and how they carry out their experiments and studies, sometimes putting a twist on the scientific method with their own approaches. Some of the different approached students took were unconventional, and while some of them led to issues with a project, I think its very good for students to explore different ideas and methods, as it adds creativity to the field. I hope that the students that enjoyed participating in the science fair, especially those whose projects had sophistication and visible effort put into them, consider joining clubs like SNHS to further their interest and experience in science in the future.
One thing that I really enjoy about SNHS is going to grade elementary school science projects. This year, I attended the grading of Sundance’s projects. It’s always fun to go out and see younger kids experiments, because sometimes they’re really funny. There’s always that one amazing project that stands out from the rest and really makes the trip memorable. Going to grade these projects is something that I’m really going to miss, seeing as I’m a senior this year, but I’ll always be able to look back on these memories fondly. Especially the Naruto run project
Fernanda Valenzuela Vazquez
I went to grade the science fair projects for Sundance elementary. I thought it was really interesting the way that some kids had a natural appeal towards science, and they had amazing experiments that i would have never thought of myself. My favorite project was a project that asked what kind of container would keep ice frozen the longest. The results were surprising and i was amazed that the student who came up with this project was fairly young. I really enjoy judging science fair projects and am fairly upset that it was the last time i’ll be doing this in high school, but i had a good time because even these kids indirectly taught me something i didn’t know.