Here are some reports from the teachers of each of our Science classes for last week in the Program. We have organized them by class:
Freshman Science (Susan Nunez, Instructor)
This week, we worked on Taxonomy/classification of organisms. Students read and created their own dichotomous keys to classify fictional monsters and types of beans.
Senior Science (Dr. Linda Brannon, Instructor)
During the third week, students planning their own studies had conferences with me to work toward a good design and a feasible plan for data collection. I also encouraged them to find additional background information so that they have some information about similar research related to their topic. (Last week we discussed background sources and how to find them. In addition, I provided students with one background source to get them started; they must find at least two others.) That is, these students pursued the details of turning a good idea into a process of data collection. Students not conducting science studies for their Senior Projects began data collection on the class study, which involved testing in the rat lab. We spend Monday through Friday in the rat lab collecting data from 8 rats in an stimulus control study that varies the reinforcement that rats receive depending on the scent associated with the scent they smell. Each day, half of the rats work in a Skinner box scented with orange, which receives no reinforcement regardless of the number of bar presses. The other half of the rats work in a box with lavender scent and receive reinforcements for bar presses. Our study seeks to determine if the rats will associate the scent with the reinforcement or lack of it. Rats change conditions every day, alternating orange with lavender scent.
Grad Psychology (Dr. Linda Brannon, Instructor)
This week was devoted to the topic of mental disorders. We began with trying to define mental disorders, referring to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association. This publication is the official guide for diagnosing mental disorders. We talked about the image of individuals with mental disorders a dangerous and violent, which is another stereotype that is not as true as people believe’ however, some disorders increase the chance of violence. The weeks’ topics include anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia.