Ninth Grade Science Symposium
Ninth grade Biology students designed their own course of study for the winter term. They worked in small groups or alone to plan, iterate, and execute a scientific research project while learning valuable research and project management skills along the way.
The process started with a project proposal where students went through several drafts to refine their ideas. Once students had developed their proposal, they fleshed it out into a complete project prospectus with a timeline and deliverables that they will be responsible for along the way. Deliverables included written tasks like outlines as well as visual tasks like creating a “coming attractions” style poster that advertises their project topic. Throughout the process, students engaged in a series of updates and reflections. Students gave public updates to their classmates discussing their progress and problems they may have encountered along the way. This year, because some students were in distance learning while others were on campus, students had the option of making Flipgrid videos to share updates on their progress with the rest of the class. Reflections were shared with Biology teachers Chris O’Connor and Dr. Gus Halwani throughout the process. “I want them to think about what went well and what they would do differently if they were doing it all over again,” says Biology teacher Chris O’Connor. “Because the reflections are only shared with me, the students are comfortable being honest and a little bit vulnerable.”
Last year’s project culminated in a Science Symposium where Upper School students were able to walk around and listen to the presentations and ask the ninth graders about their research and findings. This year, students shared their projects in a virtual symposium sharing their original proposal, prospectus, final research paper, and a video presentation where they summarized their research and findings. Below are three of the research projects that ninth grade students designed and created during the winter term. Enjoy!