Category: Science

Weekly Reports – 2022 Week Two – Morning Classes

Throughout the summer we will be posting weekly reports from the classes. Please let us know if there’s anything else you’d like to see or if you have any questions for specific instructors.

We are also posting regularly on Facebook. You don’t have to join Facebook to see our posts. The link is: https://www.facebook.com/gpgcla/

Freshmen (First Year) Classes:

Freshmen Science (Calvin Runnels, Instructor)

This week we continued to explore chemistry, using exciting experiments ranging from dissolving magnesium in acid to inflating balloons with dry ice to learn about solution concentration, gas laws, electromagnetic radiation, and the organization of the periodic table! I was very impressed with the students’ commitment to laboratory safety. Their curiosity about the world around them continues to encourage and inspire me!

Freshman Composition (Reese Menefee, Instructor)

Students shared their first finished fiction piece this week and participated in a writing workshop. In the writing workshop, the class was respectful, collaborative, and communicative. I am impressed with their feedback and creativity! In addition to workshop, they have become more comfortable with literary analysis. Overall, this was a great week! I am looking forward to seeing the class grow in their writing as the summer continues.

Freshmen Humanities  (Christine Bertrand, Instructor)

This week we continued learning about communication in society by learning about logical fallacies that often pop up in arguments to distract audiences from the main purpose of a message or to attempt to defend a weak position. If an audience can recognize fallacies, they can better analyze the true purpose behind a speaker’s message. After learning about persuasive techniques last week and logical fallacies this week, students wrote a letter of application for acceptance into a zombie-proof compound during a zombie apocalypse, hoping to convince the staff at the compound of their value to the community and the future of humanity. This week, students will vote based upon the merits of the contents of the letters, which are written anonymously using fake names and identities.

Graduate Classes:

Grad Psychology (Dr. Linda Brannon, Instructor)

For week two, the students chose to focus on gender issues, the details of which appear in the day-by-day breakdown. The week went well.

Monday: I carried over one of the concepts from Freud by explaining one of the most famous psychological assessments—the Rorschach Inkblot Test. That test dates back to the early part of the 1900s, when Hermann Rorschach borrowed Freud’s concept of projection (seeing our own faults in others rather than in ourselves). He constructed blots of ink as ambiguous stimuli and asked psychiatric patients to interpret these images. The test became very popular and continues in the present, although its validity as a psychiatric diagnostic is questionable.


Tuesday: We began the material on gender with an examination of gender stereotypes and how stereotypes can lead to prejudice and discrimination. We also reviewed the history of gender stereotypes and how those beliefs still echo in our society. Our discussion included both how men and women are subject to stereotyping, as well as prejudice and discrimination based on these stereotypes.


Wednesday: I led them through a review of the “bad old days” when sex discrimination was legal and some of the changes that have occurred as a result of legal changes.


Thursday: We ended the week with an assessment that I intended to test how well they had paid attention and remembered some of the terminology that we discussed.


Our continuation of the topic of gender consisted of a discussion of some of the big changes that have occurred in gender roles and how those changes are well-accepted by some people but not others.


The students asked for next week’s topic to focus on mental disorders, which is always of interest.

Conflict and Diplomacy (Jessica Markstrom, Instructor)

This week we discussed three major paradigms of international relations (realism, liberalism, and constructivism). We discussed the rise of weapons of mass destruction and the impact they had on conflict and diplomacy during the Cold War and in a post Cold War environment. Coercive diplomacy, the use of force, and interstate conflict were explained. Students learned about game theory and how it relates to conflict including the Prisoner’s Dilemma, Chicken, and Stag Hunt games. Bargaining theory and a basic theorem for bargaining was introduced.

Readings for the week included: Arms and Influence, Chapter 1, by Thomas Schelling; Night of the Living Wonks by Daniel Drezner in Foreign Policy, June 15, 2010; Leashing the Dogs of War, Chapter 2, International Sources of Interstate and Intrastate Conflict, by Jack Levy, 2007.

Graduate Creative Writing (Reese Menefee, Instructor)

This week was great! Students shared their flash fiction pieces. They were enthusiastic, focused, and collaborative. They effectively communicated their goals for each piece and provided constructive feedback for each other as a class. They are making progress in their writing and I am excited to see them continue to grow as writers.

 


Weekly Reports – 2022 Week One – Morning Classes

Throughout the summer we will be posting weekly reports from the classes. Please let us know if there’s anything else you’d like to see or if you have any questions for specific instructors. We will be posting the first issue of The Thinker (the student newspaper) as soon as the online version is ready.

We are also posting regularly on Facebook. You don’t have to join Facebook to see our posts. The link is: https://www.facebook.com/gpgcla/

Freshmen (First Year) Classes:

Freshmen Science (Calvin Runnels, Instructor)

We had an excellent first week in science. The students were each assigned a plant for the summer, and they were asked to choose any ONE aspect of its care to change — we’ll compare each plant’s growth to a control plant over the course of the summer. The kids got pretty creative, from watering their plants with Gatorade instead of water to depriving their plant of light. In class this week, we carried out experiments to explore important topics in chemistry such as density, precision versus accuracy, and acid-base reactions. We are emphasizing laboratory safety, scientific note taking, and above all, excitement and curiosity about the world around us!

Freshman Composition (Reese Menefee, Instructor)

During the first week of class, students were exposed to major literary genres. They discussed and analyzed works of short fiction and wrote stories of their own. Students are becoming more comfortable with their own writing and the class atmosphere is encouraging and community-focused. Students have been excited to share their work aloud with the class and their feedback has been constructive and thoughtful. Overall, this was a wonderful first week of class! I am impressed by the students’ creative ideas, writing capabilities, and critical thinking skills!

Freshmen Humanities  (Christine Bertrand, Instructor)

We all differ in our beliefs and values, holding a wide diversity of opinions on everything from politics to popsicles. While these differences could and should present opportunities for fascinating, engaging civil discourse, a quick peek at Facebook proves that instead of celebrating and embracing others’ views and taking the time to find commonalities, many of us instead attack and disparage one another. It should be clear to anyone living in our society today that humanity as a whole needs better communication skills.

Considering the need for better communication skills overall and as a foundation for continued discussion, this week the Humanities I class has focused on the art of discussion and persuasion, identifying various means of conveying one’s message. We’ve considered various categories of thought and evidence, including illogical, emotional reasoning, scientific reasoning based on empirical proof, and philosophical reasoning based on subjective but logical assumptions. We then explored the three primary categories of rhetorical appeals used in persuasion (logos, pathos, ethos) to equip students to recognize them in texts or media and to use them for developing their own arguments.

Graduate Classes:

Grad Psychology (Dr. Linda Brannon, Instructor)

Psychology includes a wide range of topic, which even a full college semester cannot cover adequately. No chance to do so during the 6-week GPGC session. Therefore, I chose to ask students what they were most interested in so that we could cover information about their interests.
I began by showing them a 40-item True/False quiz that includes some of the “myths” of psychology—things that are “common knowledge” yet incorrect. As expected, the students did poorly (but I did not score the activity or count it for a grade). The activity worked to prompt a discussion that covered many topics in psychology.


I asked students to write down topics that were covered in the quiz or that they had heard about and wanted to know more. This list forms the basis for the class this summer.

Conflict and Diplomacy (Jessica Markstrom, Instructor)

Students watched the movie Dr. Strangelove. It provides an understanding of the Cold War international system and brinksmanship. The class engaged in a discussion regarding the Russian invasion of South Ossetia and Abkhazian regions of Georgia in 2008, the Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014, and the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict. The students started the state development project on Friday. Each student will run their own country and engage in international relations with the other countries in the fictitious international system.

Graduate Creative Writing (Reese Menefee, Instructor)

During the first week of class, students were introduced to creative writing! We discussed genre, craft, and literary elements of fiction. Students were introduced to flash fiction this week. They read, analyzed, and discussed three pieces of flash fiction in class, as well as an article relating to craft. In addition to literary analysis, students participated in daily writing activities. Overall, this was a great first week of class! Due to the small size of the class, every student was able to share their work aloud and receive constructive feedback from each other! The work each student produced this week was creative and included strong sensory details and imagery. Each student has their own style of writing rooted in tone and interest! I am proud of their participation this week and very excited to read more of their work as their writing progresses in my class!


Weekly Reports – Sciences, Final Weeks

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:

 

Senior Science (Dr. Linda Brannon, Instructor)

Week 4 was briefer than anticipated due to hurricane Barry; we missed Friday’s class. When students left for 4th of July, none of the students conducting science projects had collected data. This situation prompted me to impress upon these students how little time they had left to complete their projects. They got to work, and all students began (and two completed) their data collection this week. Data collection for the class study was complete before the holiday.

This week is the one during which we prepare for presentation of projects on Friday. Ideally, all students would be finished collecting data and would have a good rough draft of their final paper. However, some students working on their own projects had not completed data collection, which created a time problem. I drilled students doing science studies repeatedly to help them become very clear about the design of their study and what their variables are. We also discussed their hypotheses and how analyzing their data would allow them to confirm or fail to confirm those hypotheses. Students worked on creating a PowerPoint for their presentations and a final paper. I went to study hall on Wednesday evening to provide assistance to students working on science, both individual projects and the group working on presenting the class study. All students had a completed PowerPoint and were able to present their studies on Friday. Three of four students who chose science projects had not submitted a satisfactory paper so must spend Week 7 on this task if they are to graduate.

 

 


Weekly Reports – Grad Classes, Week Three

Conflict and Diplomacy (Ms. Jessica Markstrom, Instructor)

This week we finished our analysis of interstate conflict. We continued the evaluation of deterrence, which included students reading excerpts from chapters 5 and 6 from Arms and Influence. These chapters included problems facing long terms disarmament and the potential issues facing states who desire to deescalate a standoff between major powers. We evaluated intervention into conflicts regarding why states intervene, how the intervene, and the likelihood of success regarding mediation. We ended our discussion of interstate conflict by spending time addressing the current conflict with Iran and the continued conflict with North Korea. On Thursday we began our evaluation of intrastate conflict (civil conflict or civil war). We covered state failure and intrastate conflict onset and economic explanations for intrastate conflict onset. Students were assigned a reading from Leashing the Dogs of War entitled “Economic Causes of Civil Conflict and Their Implications for Policy.” On Friday students continued the state development project. Several students sent out spies, some students developed weapons programs, and other students worried about rebellions within their borders.

 

Grad Psychology (Dr. Linda Brannon, Instructor)

This week was devoted mostly to the topic of memory formation and especially to problems in memory.


Weekly Reports – Sciences, Week Three

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 & Sophomore Science (Ms. Keesha Jennings, Instructor)

Freshmen: This week we continued our research to create the perfect catapults. The students learned about kinetic and potential energy to help design a catapult that could succeed in three areas; distance, power, and accuracy. After catapult testing was complete, we focused on Newton’s Laws of Motion. This new focus lead to the creation of balloon powered cars! Designs included ideas about friction, action and reaction, and aerodynamics.

Sophomore: In Science II the students learned about chemical reactions. They discovered how a catalyst can speed up the rate of a reaction, the way energy is released or absorbed in terms of endothermic and exothermic reactions, and the way a closed system can help explain the Law of Conservation of Matter.

 

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 s study that varies the amount of prior exposure the rats had to sucrose reinforcement pellet (4 days vs. 0 days of exposure). The study’s hypothesis is that prior exposure to this flavor will make the rats more willing to work for the same flavored pellets in comparison to pellets of a different flavor. The training boxes measure how many bar presses the rats make, enabling us to make the comparison. Each day, half of the rats work in a Skinner box with banana-flavored reinforcers, while the other half worked in a box that dispenses plain sugar-flavored pellets. Our study seeks to determine if the prior exposure affects the rats’ bar-press responses.

 


Weekly Reports – Afternoon Classes, Week Two

Here are some reports from the teachers of each of our afternoon classes for the last week in the Program. We have organized them by class:

Choir (Colette Tanner, Instructor)

The theme of the choir program this year is THE GREATEST SHOW. As the title infers, we will end the program with some selections from THE GREATEST SHOWMAN, but the remainder of the concert will deal with titles dealing with what one might see at the circus or historical events that were “great shows.” As soon as I have the GPGC CHOIR BLOG up and running, I will supply you with a link. That page will have all of the possible performance titles listed with listening links.

 

Publishing (Christa Bell, Instructor/Editor)

In publishing, students actually write and produce a newspaper for the Governor’s Program. In the first week, we discussed the basics of design and the basics of what makes news. Students spend the first part of each week brainstorming story ideas for the paper. The rest of the week is spent researching and turning those ideas into stories. Wednesday and Thursday the students use the computers and Adobe InDesign, which many of them are learning this summer, to lay out and produce the newspaper. Friday, we critique the paper that’s just been printed, and the cycle starts again for the next week.

 

Computer Tech (Barry Humphus, Instructor)

Students mostly did 3D objects related to Father’s Day though some did other objects. Some were successful and some of the prints failed. This is due to the original design of the objects and not what the student did to print these.

 

Debate  (Robert Markstrom, Instructor)

The first week was spent creating a foundation for argumentation. This Monday brought a new student to class who didn’t have previous debate experience. With all students now present, week 2 was spent learning how to write the first affirmative speech and how to record the speech on a flow (form of note taking used by debaters).

 

Critical Thinking (Ms. Jessica Markstrom, Instructor) 

This week was puzzle week in Critical Thinking. Students worked in groups and attempted to connect as many pieces possible for a 500-piece puzzle within the class period for their first activity. On separate days they worked on puzzle packets. One packet had simple math problems, 2 very difficult sudoku puzzles, mazes, and shape puzzles. Another packet had logic puzzles that ranged in difficulty from easy, medium, and difficult. On the last day of puzzle activities, the students competed to see who could complete 3-D puzzles within a short time period. These puzzles included creating a close-circuit with pieces with an incomplete pattern provided, using different tiles to create a circuit with new pieces added per completed circuit, a cube that contains odd shaped parts that must fit into a box, a square with different sized and shaped pieces that must be 100% filled, and Cubitz. Each activity provided a different type of puzzle for students to solve throughout the week. On Friday we played games. Games included: Blokus, Bloodborne (the boardgame), Chess, Forbidden Island, Get Bit, Hippos and Crocs, Pandemic: Contagion, and Twixt.


Weekly Reports – Sciences, Week Two

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 & Sophomore Science (Ms. Keesha Jennings, Instructor)

Freshmen: This week was all about geometry and physics. We built gumdrop structures to learn that when a force is added to a triangle it is spread evenly through all three sides. We also built catapults to discover how it is possible to use stored energy to hurl a projectile or payload.

Sophomore: This week we started off with a discussion about saturation and solubility. The students discovered that heat can affect how fast and how much of a solute is dissolved in a substance. We wrapped up the week with a fun hands-on experiment using oobleck to learn about viscosity and non-Newtonian fluids.

 

Senior Science (Dr. Linda Brannon, Instructor)

Week 2 was devoted to 1) covering background in science to bring all students toward an accurate understanding and usage of terminology, 2) exploring various research methods, 3) connecting the methods to the studies of students doing science projects, and 4) introducing students doing to the class study to the concepts and procedures for that study.

 


Weekly Reports – Sciences, Week One

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 & Sophomore Science (Ms. Keesha Jennings, Instructor)

Freshmen: In freshmen Science we will have different design challenges to learn more about the Scientific Method. This week we will learn about cylindrical strength by using paper to support weight from different items, forces, such as aerodynamics, to create paper rockets, and how external structures of animals can give us insight on how to build tools to retrieve items from hard-to-reach places.

Sophomore: Chemistry is the study of matter and energy. It is everywhere around us – in the products we clean our homes with, plastic water bottles, and even bags from the grocery store. Each week will the students will conduct experiments to improve their understanding of atoms and the way molecules react with one another as well as improve their skills and knowledge of laboratory equipment. This week we reviewed laboratory safety, discussed how nucleation sites assist the physical separation of solid, liquid, and gas, and learned how temperature can affect solubility and saturation.

 

Senior Science (Dr. Linda Brannon, Instructor)

During the session, seniors complete courses in science, composition, and humanities and choose one of these areas in which they complete a project. Thus, Science III is oriented around moving students from students to researchers. During the first week of the session, we focused initially on the choice of the senior project. Students who choose a science project must go through all of the steps in the scientific method, which begins with choosing a topic. Several students had ideas about a science project on the first day, all of which were (or could become) feasible. Students who choose a project in humanities of composition participate in a class study in which they collect data and work as a group on a presentation, so all students have a science experience but not the same science experience.

 

Grad Psychology (Dr. Linda Brannon, Instructor)

This session’s topic in psychology is “Perceptual, Cognitive, and Social Influences on Behavioral Outcomes,” with the subtitle “The Psychology of Bad Decisions and Stupid Behavior.” People often associate psychology with abnormal behavior that is irrational, but people with no mental disorders also exhibit poor judgment and bad decisions. My plan is to examine these various psychological processes that lead people to weird beliefs and unwise behavior. To prompt student involvement, each student will receive several topics related to perception, cognition, memory, or social influences to define and be prepared to discuss. Each topic of influence begins with at least one Crash Course video on the topic to which I will add PowerPoints and summary outlines.


Weekly Reports – Science, Week Six

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:

 

Senior Science (Dr. Linda Brannon, Instructor)

This week is the one during which we prepare for presentation of projects on Friday. Ideally, all students would be finished collecting data and would have a good rough draft of their final paper. However, some students working on their own projects had not completed data collection, which created a time problem. I also drilled students doing science studies repeatedly to help them become very clear about the design of their study and what their variables are. We also discussed their hypotheses and how analyzing their data would allow them to confirm or fail to confirm those hypotheses. Students worked on creating a PowerPoint for their presentations and a final paper. I went to study hall Monday through Thursday to provide assistance to students working on science, both individual projects and the group working on presenting the class study. Most students had a completed PowerPoint and were able to present their studies on Friday. Four of six students who chose science projects had not submitted a satisfactory paper so must spend Week 7 on this task if they are to graduate.

 

Grad Psychology (Dr. Linda Brannon, Instructor)

Both the quality of students’ class participation and final papers concerned me, so I decided to provide another assessment as a way to determine students’ comprehension of important concepts. That assessment was an open-book/note exam, which I announced on Monday and students took on Thursday. They also turned in their final papers on Thursday (two of eight did so; others must work on these papers during Week 7). The topics that we discussed were talk-based/cognitive therapies, including client-centered therapy, rational-emotive therapy, and also several behavior modification approaches. As students have experienced a token economy, we talked about that version of behavior modification more extensively than systematic desensitization, aversion therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy.


Weekly Reports – Science, Week Four

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 tried to create Rube Goldberg contraptions. The game Mouse Trap was our example. Students had to use all Six Simple Machines. They first drew/ made a blueprint of what they wanted to create. Then, given a specific set of materials, they tried to actually build that creation. Each one had a specific final outcome. Like Mouse Trap, the goal was to catch a mouse or whatever idea they attempt.

 

Senior Science (Dr. Linda Brannon, Instructor)

The students doing the class study spent Monday through Friday in the rat lab collecting data. By this time, those students have become comfortable with the procedure and handling the rats. By Friday, we had completed the students’ participation with the data collection. I met with students conducting science projects in the dorm on Sunday to help them clarify their designs, understand their variables, develop their materials, and prepare to collect data. Some students were clearer than others on what they needed to do to move forward with their studies, but it was important for all students to begin collecting data this week. For each of the other days, I met with those students to help them produce a finished set of materials and a script to use in interacting with participants. Supervised their work and helped them get copies of the materials they needed to conduct their studies.

 

Grad Psychology (Dr. Linda Brannon, Instructor)

We considered topics related to therapies for mental illness, taking a historical view. We had already covered Freud’s psychoanalytic approach, which is a talk-based therapy. This week’s topics focused on biologically based interventions, including lobotomies, electroconvulsive therapy, and drugs used to treat schizophrenia, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and anxiety disorders.