The Research Laboratories |
The technology program at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology is designed to develop in our students substantial experience and proficiency in laboratory based research, project planning, experimentation, problem solving, design, modeling, fabrication, testing, evaluation, documentation, and presentation related to engineering, scientific and other technical areas.
The structure of the technology curriculum is different from Fairfax County and Virginia state technology curricula in order to support our unique student population. By initiating curriculum exploration and development in new high technology fields, and by integrating elements from science and computer science as well as from the technical curriculum, the technology program derives strength from its links with businesses, industry, scientific and academic institutions. Structurally, it is comprised of both a technology electives curriculum and a science and technology laboratory research program.
Ninth grade students begin their technology education by taking a required full-year technology survey course which is integrated with Biology and English courses. Through an active, project-oriented approach to learning, the technology survey course introduces students to the engineering design process and provides a uniform foundation in knowledge of content and basic skills upon which students may draw for later work in science and technology.
During the tenth and eleventh grades, all students are expected to explore their science and technology interests through elective courses. A broad range of technology courses are currently offered through the Science and Technology research laboratories. Through these electives, students learn the specific formal content and skills required for their senior research project.
During the 12th grade, all students are expected to complete a major science or engineering research project, either by working in one of the science and technology research laboratories, or by working in a commercial, government or university research lab or technical facility through our mentorship program.
12th grade students conduct the majority of their work in a specific laboratory, but are encouraged to make use of the facilities, equipment and resources in any of the laboratories. The mentorship program offers the students an opportunity to pursue research under the guidance of professionals from the scientific and technological community in a professional laboratory or worksite. Students are matched with a mentor based on mutual scientific and technological interests, as well as the goals of the senior research program. We welcome contributions from the scientific and technological community to help mentor students or provide other resources for student project work to our school-based research lab program. These contacts provide students electing to remain at the school an enhanced research experience.
Numerous student projects developed in the research laboratories and through the mentorship program have been honored with top awards from the Intel Science Talent Search, Regional, Virginia, and International Science and Engineering Fairs, the Virginia Junior Academy of Science, the Austin T. Brown Technical Writing Competition, and the Siemens Science and Technology Competition. Our students’ accomplishments are also evident in their participation in professional conferences and as contributors in published papers.