How to Turn Online High School Projects into Antarctic Ice

Puns are trite, but this story is well worth the groan. When one college freshman goes to school in California, she'll be able to break the ice with ease. In fact, it won't be with some lame pun or a shy question, but rather with actual Antarctic ice.

Andrea Bugni is a precocious high school senior who rolls with the tides at the southern reach of the Earth. She has been working on a capstone project about how tidal flows affect the structure of ice in Antarctica, reports the Oregonian, and has been presenting her work to a number of research presentations.

Her explanation for why ice sheets break in certain areas is relatively simple: when the ice grows away from bedrock, it creates a stress point that can bend and fracture. But the data that she was able to compile and the poise that spectators say she had in delivering the information were impressive. It is also helpful because it helps scientist predict when and where bits of the shelf will break next.

So what makes all of this relevant? Well, Bugni is a senior at an online high school, and the Oregon teen has been able to do much of this research thanks to the freedom she's had. And while students at many high schools are able to take on independent projects, that's kind of the point. Online high schools offer a different method of delivering ideas, but it doesn't necessarily mean that there aren't great options.

Two major caveats, of course. As we continue to hit upon, you should research online high schools like you would any other private or parochial school. Ensure that those ones you consider are well-accredited, and hopefully have curriculum options like Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate preparation courses.

The second caveat is that there will be a greater need for you, your child or both to be much more careful with planning. Learning is more open-ended in an online environment, so there may be a transition period for you and your teen as you adjust to this. And for some learning styles, that won't be the best fit.

Outside of just anecdotal evidence like Bugni, statistics show that students are choosing online learning, and getting good results. Research and make the best decision for you and your family.

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Data on U.S. Public High Schools & Private High Schools

Data provided by the National Center for Education Statistics. The data displayed is compiled from the most recent sources available. For public schools this is the 2015-2016 school year. For private schools this is the 2015-2016 school year.

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