Students from both The Prep and The Priory participated in the 35th annual Academic Fair on January 17. The gymnasium was bustling excited energy as students, faculty and community members gathered to discuss students' latest learnings and discoveries. Lei-clad students were seen chatting with their advisors and answering questions from curious judges.
"These extraordinary projects were imagined and designed by the students themselves," Head of School Ruth Fletcher said. "Our teachers have masterfully guided, inspired, and motivated our students to tackle a problem of interest and have engaged them in the STEAM fields and the social sciences."
Topics were as diverse as the students themselves. Research was conducted over a three-month period in areas including environmental science, biomedical science, animal science, chemistry, microbiology, physics and systems software. Students selected a topic, created a hypothesis and then tested it. You can see the full list of students who participated in the Academic Fair and their projects here.
"The process that our girls undertake as part of independent research helps them to develop so many skills," Upper School Principal Nichole Field said. "Today, we celebrate them for completing complex projects and for being able to articulate their work to an authentic audience. Their experience is challenging and time-consuming and pushes students to manage their time and learn how to overcome obstacles while persevering."
Serving as science research judges were 18 professionals from the science, business and school community, as well as 10 seniors. For the independent inquiry projects, nine faculty judges and five student readers contributed to the event. A dozen faculty members also lent their expertise as research advisors for the students.
The judges interviewed students and asked specific questions about their projects. They provided insightful feedback to the students. The suggestions received will be taken into account when the researchers continue their work. Upper School students who participated in the Independent Inquiry portion will incorporate the feedback they received to continue their research and will share their final product at the Exhibition Fair in May.
"I really liked having others come up to me to talk about my project," said The Priory sixth grader Leilani Aubuchon.
The Prep fourth graders added a new twist to the fair with their projects. Instead of using traditional display boards to show their work, the boys created websites with their findings and project highlighted. The websites included all the traditional science fair board information, such as hypotheses, methods, procedures, data, photos and results. One example of a student website can be seen here.
The Academic Affair is a great example of our students living out our school's vision to be their personal best while engaged in the world and inspired to make it more humane and just.
Up next, some of the Science Fair students will be moving on to the district fair, based on the recommendations of the judges.