Researchers return to Redwood
Middle school is a place to which most never want to return. However, science teacher Dr. Nikki Malhotra’s students have decided to go back for the benefit of younger students.
Through a program called the TOHS and Redwood Science Fair Alliance, Scientific Research students join with science fair participants at Redwood Middle School to assist and advise them with their projects.
“This year, we added a mentoring activity that involves Thousand Oaks students meeting with Redwood students regarding the Ventura County Science Fair,” eighth grade honors science teacher Gini Bartley said.
Scientific Research is a class on campus, taught by Malhotra, in which students study the scientific method and then create a project for the science fair.
The program’s goal is to get younger students excited about the science fair as well. The program is co-run by Malhotra and Bartley.
The students held a meeting first on Jan. 15 at Redwood Middle School, and again more recently on Feb 5. At these meetings, the high school students pair up with the middle school students in order to help them with their projects for the upcoming Ventura County Science Fair, which will take place on March 19.
The Lancers help the younger students to brainstorm and bounce ideas off of one another so they can figure out the best possible option. The Lancers allow the Vikings to complete their projects on their own but remain available to give feedback, support and advice—ready to answer any questions the younger students may have.
The program was created two years ago. The idea was sparked through colleges such as UCLA, CLU and Moorpark College, whose students also had a science outreach program with Malhotra’s research students for the past three years. Inspired, Malhotra decided to pass the idea along by reaching out to the middle school students.
“I decided to pass this outreach effort on to our local middle schools,” Malhotra said, “so that we can share our knowledge and expertise with them.”
Both schools agree that the program has been successful and would definitely like to continue it in future years. They also believe that the program is rewarding to both groups of students.
“TOHS research students become leaders and young scientists,” Malhotra said. “Middle school students look up to high school students and learn the scientific process from them.”