Discovery Overview

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.

Sample Discovery Schedule*

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 year-long 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.

DISCOVERY AP Research

This is a year-long 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.