The Georgia Governor’s Honors Program (GHP) is a residential summer program for gifted and talented high school students.
At the referral of a former colleague, I was invited to teach Chemistry and Research Design for the 2016 GHP, and I was blown away by all that the program has to offer!
What IS GHP?
More than 600 student from across the state of Georgia were brought on the campus of Valdosta State University for four weeks to take classes in a subject of their own passion and talent. Disciplines were varied, including languages, dance, science, social studies, mathematics, theatre, and more!
Through the science department, students could take a selection of courses and labs that are not typically offered at the secondary level, such as microbiology and robotics.
In my Analytical Chemistry and Organic Chemistry classes, we extracted chlorophyll from spinach using thin layer chromatography, discovered the absorbance of Skittles solutions, and synthesized biodiesel from vegetable oil!
Student Work Artifacts
One of the most challenging assignments that GHP science students undertake is the culminating research project, in which they are tasked with designing an original experiment that will explore a topic in their own area of interest. In this open-ended and inquiry-based approach, students in my design class successfully met their objectives, while going above and beyond to exhibit qualities of true scientific thinkers and problem-solvers! Each group planned experimental procedures that were creative and thorough, carried them out methodically, and analyzed their results with proficiency. Check out some of their work below:
Finally, the best and most rewarding work by students was the oral presentation they gave following the independent research project. Everyone generated a professional poster that detailed all steps of the scientific process, including objective, methods, data, and conclusion. While hundreds of GHP students and faculty may have found the poster itself to be quite technical and intimidating, these young researchers did an amazing job of explaining their work in a way that not only made it easy to understand but also communicated their passion and excitement for the science.
Overall, GHP was an amazing experience for students and teachers alike. I look forward to seeing the great things that these bright minds accomplish in the future!