Scientific Discoveries

R.C. Murphy Junior High School seventh-graders participated in authentic science research during a recent collaborative project with Stony Brook University anthropology professor Dr. Catherine Markham.

As part of the project, the students studied Dr. Markham’s photo research gathered at both Sweetbriar Nature Center in Smithtown and a park in Kenya. They learned how she had used a “camera trap” procedure to collect images from stationary locations at both sites to gather information about animals living in those regions. The trap collects a series of repetitive images over a short period of time once the attached sensors detect movement.

Having understood the process, the students then worked on their observation and inference skills by examining the evidence collected and recorded data from the pictures. They took note of findings such as the phase of the moon, the number and types of animals present, and the perceived temperature.