Goal: Development of the Total Scholar
The DISCOVERY Program is a four-year Honors/AP program designed for students with motivation, interest, aptitude and commitment to academic excellence. Student participants investigate both theory and application over a broad range of academics and engage in, under the guidance of a school or community mentor, individualized laboratory-based research in a specific area of their own interest. Honors and Advanced Placement courses are offered in all academic areas, with distinctive opportunities in the fields of science and mathematics. Program participants also explore Honors/AP level courses in literature and history with Honors/AP level options in drama, art, language, and music.
Exclusive Course Offerings
DISCOVERY AP Seminar
This initial course is the first step in laying the foundation needed for the scientific research the students will conduct during their sophomore and junior years. This one-semester course explores many branches of science and aids the students in identifying their area of interests within one of these branches. This course will serve as a foundation for developing a research proposal. The students are, in addition, required to develop a portfolio of current scientific findings and issues facing society today. The students will also learn to dissect graduate level, professional journal articles. This step-by-step approach aids the students in understanding the content of the primary research article, even though they have not completed a high school level science course. In addition, the students are taught to find valid articles using databases, write scientific papers, and convey the information they have learned through effective presentations.
This course is designed as an introduction to scientific research skills and techniques. Specifically, the student will learn to use various pieces of scientific equipment in a laboratory setting to prepare for pursuing his/her own interest in some individual question during the succeeding research program. Extensive time will be devoted to the instructional use of computer technology and resources for math and science for both primary and secondary research. As Pre-Research proceeds, the student will develop a specific area of interest and seek an appropriate direction for the investigation of a problem during their search program. Progress and problems in this pursuit will become part of a weekly discussion in the class. Upon completion of Pre-Research, each student will have a written proposal for the project he/she wants to pursue during Research I.
DISCOVERY Research I
This is a one-semester course that offers the high school sophomore the opportunity to study in detail a topic of interest to him/her and to research a specific problem within that topic. Students learn approaches to technical literature, use of the University of South Carolina Cooper Library, experimental design methods, scientific and statistical interpretation of data, and how to write and research a formal paper. This course will build upon skills developed in Pre-Research, and students are expected to have defined a problem area of interest prior to beginning this coursework. Student efforts are supported by the course instructor, other faculty advisors, community members, or professional mentors. The course highlight is the student presentations at the Spring Valley High School Research Symposium. This symposium is attended by peers, parents, community members, and scientists in our area. Students also participate in the South Carolina Science Fair and the South Carolina Junior Academy of Science.
DISCOVERY Research II
This second-year research course is offered as an independent study. The student, with permission from the director and advisors, may continue the research begun in the DISCOVERY Research I course, or may choose a completely new project. Students meet informally with the teacher and advisors to clarify work or solve problems during the research time. This course emulates research in universities and industry in that the researcher is the prime motivator in a very loosely-structured environment. A finished, formal paper and presentation before the faculty and invited guests will complete the course requirements. It is anticipated that the students will present their work at the annual meeting of the South Carolina Junior Academy of Science and the Region II Science and Engineering Fair.
DISCOVERY Research III
This third-year research elective course is offered as an independent study for those students wishing to continue developing their research and analytic skills. The student, with permission from the director and advisors, may continue the research begun in the DISCOVERY Research I and/or II courses, or may choose a completely new project. Students meet informally with the teacher and advisors to clarify work or solve problems during the research time. This course emulates research in universities and industry in that the researcher is the prime motivator in a very loosely-structured environment. A finished, formal paper and presentation before the faculty and invited guests will complete the course requirements. It is anticipated that the students will present their work at the annual meeting of the South Carolina Junior Academy of Science or the Region II Science and Engineering Fair. This is an elective course and is not required for graduation from the Discovery program.
Discovery Graduation Requirements
All Math and Science courses must be completed at the DISCOVERY level. Two independent research projects must be completed as part of the requirements for Research I and Research II with the results presented at the South Carolina Junior Academy of Science Symposium and the Region II Science and Engineering Fair. A minimum of four Advanced Placement (AP) courses must be completed by graduation. These four AP courses must consist of at least one math, one science, and two other AP courses. These requirements must be met to successfully complete the Discovery program.