Students, teacher share positive experience with AP Research course



According to the College Board, Advanced Placement Research is a class that helps students explore “an academic topic, problem, or issue of individual interest.” 

With that interest students will then “. . . design, plan, and conduct a year-long research-based investigation to address a research question.”  A prerequisite for AP Research is AP Seminar.

Staci Osborn has been the Natomas Pacific Pathways Preparatory  AP Research teacher for three years. At the beginning of the term, she gives students a bag of puzzle pieces and tells them to fit it all together. 

“I don’t show them the picture, anything, they’re just trying to piece everything together,” Osborn said. “And they realize there’s about three pieces missing from the puzzle.” Osborn connected this activity to AP Research.

“So if each of those puzzle pieces is a different article that’s already been published, then those articles come together to fill in a good deal of the picture, but there are still going to be a few missing pieces,” she said. “So for the students, their research should target those missing pieces. They are not necessarily trying to fill that full piece, but even contributing a little adds to the overall plot.”

Senior Rachel Long is currently in NP3’s student research class and her project is a correlational study between health behaviors and teen understanding of health. 

“I would say take it if you have something that you know you’re interested in, and that won’t bore you for six months,” Long said. “So if you’re taking this class, find something you’re passionate about, if you are solely interested in something, or if you ever wondered about something.”

Another senior enrolled in the class is Nicholas Korvink. His senior project is measuring subject well being and psychopathology in advance placement students at Natomas Pacific Pathways High School. 

“I chose this project because I’m part of the demographic,” Korvink said. “Subject well being and psychopathology are general terms for good mental health and bad mental health. So I just wanna mesure AP students’ mental health because I want to make sure that my classmates are doing okay, and I think AP students are underrepresented in general.” Korvink said. 

Alina Susu, another senior at NP3, is doing her research on women in philosophy. Eric Jones, NP3’s AP Seminar teacher, has inspired Susu to minor in philosophy. 

“He inspired me to pursue the discipline because he made it sound very interesting,” Susu said. “And then I started researching about and reading philosophical works, and I found that it’s something that I’m very interested in and that there is a lack of women in physiology which is an issue.” 

NP3 students in the course said they have learned many skills that they think they’ll take with them as they grow older. 

Osborn encourages future students to take AP Seminar and AP Research. 

“This class will give you skills that you can use in all of your future courses, all of your future challenges,” Osborn said. “You will have to write to communicate with others in your work, you will have to speak to communicate with others in your work. … But it’s the kind of challenging course that leaves you feeling really proud at the end when you’ve made it through.”