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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

AP Research students explore deeper into information about Disney, effects of yoga, and AI

Autumn VanSolkema
The progress of each student’s research in the class on the whiteboard

What impact does doing yoga before a math quiz have on students’ test scores? 

How can artificial intelligence be utilized in digital media creation? 

How does changing a character’s race and remaking classic films affect racial biases facilitated through cinema?  

These are just some of the questions that students in AP Research are deep-diving into. AP Research is a class in which students can expand on the research and presentation skills they have learned in AP Seminar. 

Senior Gigi Sinicrope wanted to enhance her writing and presenting skills, so she decided to take AP Research.

“I really liked AP Seminar,” Gigi said. “I usually enjoy presenting and writing, so I wanted to take a class that was focused on that.” 

For those unfamiliar, AP Seminar is a more structured and less intense version of AP Research. In the first semester, students get to do a mock version of both performance tasks, so then in the second semester, they can get started with the real thing. In AP Research, on the other hand, students start on the real project that they will submit to the College Board immediately.

“With [AP Seminar]  you had a practice run beforehand,” Taylor said, “you get to do a practice in first semester and then the real [presentation] in second [semester]. But with [AP Research], you just go straight into the real thing. You have to figure it out as you go and learn from your mistakes. ”

In AP Research, students have the entire school year to write a research paper and create a presentation on the topic of their choosing. Additionally, they have to gather research on their own, beyond sources from the internet. This can range from doing a study to sending out surveys to different groups of people. 

Gigi also sent out a survey, but it was to people over 18 through Facebook. Senior Owen Godley gathered some of his research through a survey sent out to the students of FHPS regarding AI. 

“It’s a lot more hands-on in the research approach,” Owen said. “You’re going out more into the public to get your research, and it’s more than just looking at primary sources [like in AP Seminar].”

Senior Taylor Greenman was fluctuating between different topics, eventually deciding to look into yoga reducing stress levels for her study. To gather her research, she and yoga teacher Stacy Steensma worked together and filmed a short yoga video; this video was then shown to Algebra 1 students before they took a math quiz to see if it increased their scores. Originally, she was going to look into how fishing reduces stress, but she found that it was hard to research that in the winter months.

Just learning those skills early on is very helpful if you want to increase your endurance or writing and get better at presentation skills as well as getting better at researching overall.

— Owen Godley

Most students chose their topics because the topic interested them, not because it was easy to study or find information on.

“I think it’s really important to research something that has some type of importance to you or something that you think is interesting,” Gigi said. “If you don’t have any personal interest in it, it’s going to be a lot harder to get yourself to do it.”

The students are asked to write a Master’s level thesis, which requires a lot of research to be done. The students start from scratch and are on their own for most of the class. 

Creating their own research question and extensively diving into it can prepare them for college papers in the future.

“I think the skills correlate very well to when you’re in college and have to write really expansive and long research papers,” Owen said. “Just learning those skills early on is very helpful if you want to increase your endurance or writing and get better at presentation skills as well as getting better at researching overall.”

Kristy Butler has been teaching the class for around five years and encourages many students to take it in the future. She shares some of the benefits past students have had, including getting into a professor’s lab, forming stronger connections with the instructors, and gaining the self-motivation to get the work done.

“I think it’s an interesting class for students to take,” Butler said, “that can provide them with skills they wouldn’t have gotten in high school previously.”

Because the class is independent, one of the hardest parts for students is time management. It is self-paced, so it is up to students to decide what days to work on it and accomplish more.

“I’m not very good at managing my time myself and getting my work done,” Gigi said. “So, because it’s so independent, it forces me to do that; it makes you grow up a little bit and get your stuff done.”

For Taylor, the class also helps her with not putting the work off and finding motivation to get it finished. 

“I think [AP Research] is going to help with college for sure,” Taylor said. “It helps you manage your time, and it’s helped with my procrastination because [I have to write] such a big paper; I have to start early enough [to finish in time].”

AP Research is a class that has many benefits for students including teaching them valuable lessons on how to manage time and work and gather their own research.

Students who enjoyed AP Seminar and want to continue with a class similar should consider taking AP Research to deepen their well of knowledge on a topic they are passionate about.

“I think it’s really cool that kids get to do a ginormous project all by themselves from start to finish,” Butler said. “I don’t think there are other experiences that [FHC] is able to give out [to] students that are like that.”

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About the Contributor
Autumn VanSolkema
Autumn VanSolkema, Staff Writer
Autumn is a junior entering her first year on The Central Trend. She loves a good romance novel, but loves her corgi more. If she is not belting out Taylor Swift songs, she is teaching herself new songs on the guitar or ukulele. You can find her cheering on the sidelines of football games or coaching her little fourth-grade cheer team. Autumn has grown up loving the theatre, being both on the stage and in the audience. She has performed in many shows and regularly begs her parents to take her to New York again to see more Broadway productions. Autumn is an avid photographer, with her camera roll being filled with 19k+ photos over the last two years. Her least favorite things in the world: Balloons and Styrofoam. Her favorite musicalsWaitress and Mamma Mia Number of surgeries she's had: 7 Her favorite condiments: Mayo and Ranch Favorite season: Just like her name, it's autumn

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