This school year, 2016-2017, is the third year that Lake Howell High School has been offering the Advanced Placement Capstone program. This is a two-year commitment for participating students that is comprised of two classes: AP Seminar and AP Research. As of now, Mrs. Oliva and Ms. Penny teach all AP Capstone class periods.
AP Seminar, the first of the two AP Capstone courses, is a research and writing intensive class. Students learn many useful college skills such as how to conduct research, write college level papers, pick apart articles and learn how to investigate real world problems from multiple perspectives. Students are assessed through a “combination of individual and team projects and presentations as well as through a written exam.” Students learn these important skills through the many different activities and several written essays over the course of the year. After having completed AP Seminar, students are encouraged to complete AP Research as well to earn an AP Capstone diploma. This class is centered around a student’s exploration of a research question of choice. A “yearlong mentored, research-based investigation to address a research question” is conducted through the course in which students will be expected to write a 5,000 word thesis paper, present the topic and complete an oral defense.
AP Research the following year is quite different considering students will be working year round to go in depth to explore their research topics. This class is focused more so around the guidance of the teachers as students develop their own research papers, as opposed to whole class instruction. Each individual student spends the year long course developing their own unique essay about a topic they are interested in, creating new research on the subject at hand.
For anyone looking to participate in the AP Capstone, it needs to be understood that participating in the program will require motivation and the ability to spend a lot of time on coursework. While this course does require the student to provide much effort and put in a lot of time outside the classroom, this capstone program is very much worth the effort for those looking to pursue high secondary education.