How We Make Science Come Alive

Students are empowered to ask questions and use the scientific process to answer those questions in our programs. We believe this hands-on, real-world experience nurtures their curiosity, sets them apart from the crowd and sets them up for success in college and beyond.

Understanding the Process

But what is science, exactly? These days, it’s natural to ask that very question. If you are, we’re here to help.

⇒ Read: Headwaters instructor Daniel Dudek explains what the scientific process looks like in practice and how it guides everything we do at Headwaters.

It Starts With A Question

Curiosity is what motivates young people to learn. This process captures their curiosity so they can develop a passion for learning throughout their lives. We believe this is how we can build a generation of successful, curious, engaged students who are prepared for the future.  Questions are the launchpad for all scientific inquiry.

Watch: Lunch With A Scientist episode sparks intrigue within the classroom

Creating Framework To Answer The Question

The process of science is iterative. Science circles back on itself so that useful ideas are built upon and used to learn even more about the natural world. This often means that successive investigations of a topic lead back to the same question, but at deeper and deeper levels. Students learn to develop methods and research techniques. Create hypotheses and methods to test hypotheses.

⇒ Read: How field days spark intrigue through hands-on learning.

Collecting Data

The process of science is not predetermined. Any point in the process leads to many possible next steps, and where that next step leads could be a surprise.

⇒ Read: How our school programs walk students through the research process.

⇒ Read: Field days demonstrate the impact of in-field research

Communicating The Findings

You can’t move through the process of science without examining how that evidence reflects on your ideas about how the world works — even if that means giving up a favorite hypothesis. Communicating your findings allows researchers to apply their conclusions to the bigger picture.

⇒ Watch: Our Research Experience students present their findings in their final project published in the Headwaters Research Journal. 

The Impacts on Our Students, And the Wider World

The process of science can be used to develop new technologies, address societal issues and inform policy, solve everyday problems, build knowledge and satisfy curiosity. Every one of our students has the ability to achieve any or all of these goals, and many of gone on to publish their research in professional academic journals and study science at prestigious universities.

⇒ Watch: This former Research Experience student studied bluebirds, enrolled at CSU Los Angeles at 14 years old.

⇒ Read: These four former Research Experience students had work published in academic journals.