Information for Explorers


Explorers are developing scientists who further the WeSee community's understanding of nature and technology. These high school students commit their time (usually as part of a classroom project) to explore their interests with the assistance of a Volunteer Principal Investigator. Along the way, they develop an understanding of the nature of science and engineering.

WeSee is currently in development for Fall 2008. If you are interested in participating in an exploration thread, please contact us at WeSeeAdmin at gmail.com.

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WeSee for Explorers

WeSee explorations are designed to engage you in scientific or engineering research. Your WeSee exploration should resemble a science fair project; you will select an accessible topic of interest to you, develop a testable question, complete a research cycle, and report your results to the community. Available to assist you by answering questions, providing guidance or suggestions, and assisting with unexpected challenges is a professional scientist or engineer, your Volunteer Principal Investigator (VPI).

Selecting an exploration topic

The best exploration topic is one that interests you. You can study the physics musical instrument, the design of your sports equipment, the behavior of your local ecosystem, or the chemistry of your favorite cake recipe. As long as you can develop an experimentally testable question or impliment a design solution, you've found a good topic. Many topics (called exploration threads at WeSee) have already been started by our VPIs. If your explorations is related to an open thread, contact the thread's VPI for advice. If your idea doesn't seem to fit into an existing thread, post an Exploration Request on the Explorations page and (fingers crossed) a VPI will contact you and open a new thread.

Contacting a VPI

You can contact an individual VPI by posting to the discussion in one of their Exploration Threads or by sending a private message to them (use the mail button at the top, right of any page; you'll need their wikispaces ID). If you want to start a conversation with any (or all) VPI, you can post to the Exploration Discussion. If you need to contact a WeSee administrator, please send a message to user pasquinit or WeSeeAdmin at gmail.com.
Remember, VPIs volunteer their time to work with you, so be polite and respectful in all your communications.

Making a schedule

Once you've selected a topic and a VPI has created a new page for your exploration, you're ready to begin. A good first step is to review the WeSee Inquiry Model and develop a tentative schedule for completing your exploration. The majority of your time will likely be spent performing the experiment and analyzing data, but don't forget to schedule time for designing your procedure, assembling materials for your experiment, documenting your work, and handling unexpected speed bumps. Remember, it may take several days for your VPI to find time to review your work or respond to your questions, so if you put off your project till the last minute, you may be working completely alone.
Your teacher (if you are participating as part of a class) may have additional deadlines and expectations. Take these into consideration as well.
Your VPI will be monitoring your exploration page for changes, so it may be helpful to post your tentative schedule near the top of the page so you both are in on the plan.

Tips for completing your exploration

  • Get started early and keep to a schedule.
  • Don't choose too big of a project. If you finish too quickly, you can always expand your exploration with a second question or open a new exploration. You don't want to run out of time with your experiment half done.
  • Keep your exploration page updated with a record of your progress and with questions or ideas you have. Your VPI can't read your mind and you can always come back to your page to make changes later.
  • Monitor your page and its discussion so you know right away when changes happen. Use the Notify Me tab on your exploration page.

Making the most of the Wiki format

The benefit of a wiki (or any webpage) over a written lab report is the ease of including different media. Use this to your advantage. Take a picture or, better, record a video of your experiment, link to related sites, and include your data in a table. The editor bar (see below) has lots of tools to help beautify your Exploration page.
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The WikiSpaces editor bar includes lots of tools to improve the usefulness of your Exploration Page.

When adding an image or video, the easiest way is to use the "Insert Images or Files" dialogue box to upload your file. Note, no file can be larger than 20Mb. Select the "Upload" tab and browse to find your file. Once it is uploaded, double click to insert the image, video, or link to another type of file at the cursor.
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Adding images is easy. Browse for the file on your computer, upload it, and insert it.

You can create images using "Paint". Hint: The key combination Ctrl-PrtSc key can be used to copy an image of your screen to the clipboard. Paste it into Paint, crop and resize, then save it as a jpg to be uploaded. This trick will allow you to post an image of anything you can create on your computer to the site.

Where to go for help

Your VPI should be your first and primary contact for help with your exploration. In the event that you (1) have difficulty with the WeSee site in general, (2) do not receive a timely response (within a week) from your VPI , or (3) you have a personal conflict with your VPI or another member of the WeSee community, do not hesitate to contact the administrators at WeSeeAdmin at gmail.com or send a message to pasquinit.