Capstone Kicks Off! (Choosing a Topic)

Capstone is a very literal name. Capstone tops off everything we’ve learned! Capstone is a project where we put our independent research skills to the test. We have to interview a person, and even do a “site visit”, where we go to an actual place to help us with our research. Its a great challenge! But you can’t research if you don’t have a question…

Choosing a question may just be the biggest part of Capstone. Every single element of Capstone is based around something called a “main inquiry question”. The main inquiry question is, as its name suggests, your central question that supports your research. But choosing a question isn’t all that easy.

In order to choose a question, you first have to choose a topic. To start I chose nuclear fusion. Nuclear fusion is when two atoms are pushed together to the point where there nuclei touch. Then it produces energy (but I wasn’t exactly sure how.) My question was “Can nuclear fusion sustain humanity?” But then there was a major setback.

I told Ms. Boyer my idea, but she said it was “too big.”  In other words, because I didn’t know enough about nuclear fusion to start, I shouldn’t research it. I didn’t see her point in the beginning, but soon it became clear that I could not research an entire collage course in six weeks. So it was back to the drawing board.

A few hours later the drawing board was out of paper. With the help of my Mom, I had considered may topics, ranging from mitochondria to inventions of the future. But none of them seemed to fit. Until my Mom said the words “magnetic field”.

That must have sparked a wire somewhere in my brain, because a few minutes later my mind was on fire. Thanks to my Mom’s help, I had devised a knew idea. The Earth’s magnetic field is very interesting, because of how it interacts with solar flares. It’s also a good topic, because I have some prior knowledge on it. I strode into school feeling confident.

But before I could come up with a question, there was still more work to do. I had to divide my main topic into smaller topics. I did something I liked to call “double division”. I divided my topic topic into six different sub topics, and then I divided each one of those sub topics into several more topics. Then I crossed out a topic here and there, thought a little more, and then I was done with my topic division (at least for now, I could be sent back to the drawing board again.) My final result was that my topic would be Solar Flares.

And that brings me to where I am know. My topic is divided, and I’m about to come up with my main inquiry question. I can’t wait to see what Capstone will bring!

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