The MS crew has had a terrific, productive past few weeks in their Sci/Eng classes, culminating in Friday's presentation of their 3D Cell Model projects.
We have been researching cell structure, microscopes, and the biological processes associated with cells (particularly DNA transcription and translation). The kids worked in groups last week to plan and construct models of plant or animal cells with clearly labeled & described structures/organelles. The groups were randomized, and I was very impressed by how diligently they worked together to develop some excellent products.
Early on, several of the groups became fixated on creating an edible (and sugary) model. This can be really challenging, and I'm surprised by how many of the teams stuck with their plan. In addition to a number of terrific shoebox-style cell dioramas, we had some cell cakes, candy cells, and one with the organelles suspended in clear gelatin. While perhaps not as ambitious as creating a bridge out of toothpicks, the class has attacked this project (and this unit) with characteristic zeal.
Looking ahead, we've got a pair of foci on the immediate horizon. The first is solidifying our topic (and group, if applicable) for this year's "Problem Solved Expo". This is a reimagining of our school Science Fair from previous years, and will feature not only traditional inquiry-based experiments testing a hypothesis, but also projects with an engineering emphasis and (for the first time, in upper el and middle school, Rube Goldberg machines). Between now and winter break, it will be important for the MS squad to declare their topic, do preliminary research, and develop a plan (including hypothesis and procedure if appropriate).
At the same time, our class time between the Thanksgiving and winter breaks spirals to a pinpoint, as the kids will be in intercession developing