Are you trying to mentor the students through a project that they are working on with you (at school)? Or are you working to try and mentor the student through a project that they are doing alone (at home)?
Working with you
This is great since you will be able to monitor their progress to make sure that they are staying on track for their projected completion date. However, if you are juggling many different student projects in parallel then you will not likely be able to actively help them all. This makes it very important to share resources and connections with the students and express that they can ask outside individuals for questions on setting up their projects. In fact, if you need some help guiding projects or a few projects seem to be “out of your comfort zone” then we have a team of professors that are willing to answer questions regarding setting up experiments to ensure your students are collecting the right data.
You will have to decide if you will be asking your students to work on similar topics or limiting their projects in any way. If so you will need to discuss the boundaries for project topics. Otherwise you will want to consider working with your librarian or, if local, possibly Longwood’s librarians. They can help you teach your students how to search and organize the literature then narrow down a project.
At this point you may have to help them develop their ideas into working research projects. This is where many of our local professors can begin to give your students advice on how to set up their experiments. Meanwhile you can begin covering some of the in-class topics to help them analyze their data, write a paper, and prepare a presentation.
Working at home
In the case that you will be asking the students to work on the projects during their own time it is important to have ways for them to check in with you on how their projects are going. The Humble ISD LIbrary has put out a great handbook that has some fillable forms that you could use for your student projects. You may even consider scheduling 10 minute Zoom meetings to check in on progress at home.
Working at a university
Consider having a student sign up for a university summer program or other research opportunity. These projects can then be submitted to your local competitions by your students in the following year. Many universities have grant funded opportunities for these students. If your local, even Longwood has a program called the Summer Scholars. Students can get a chance to work on a project with a university faculty member by joining their lab for multiple weeks throughout the summer. Some may even have student housing if your student is ready for a “summer camp” experience.