Worcester’s premier college-preparatory co-ed day school serving students from Central MA and MetroWest, Pre-K–Grade 12
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Mr. O in his 2nd floor office on a dress-down day

In the Middle of It All

Middle School Musings by Trevor O’Driscoll, Bancroft's Head of Middle School

Most weeks, MS Head Trevor O’Driscoll writes a short note to parents and faculty about middle school, education, parenting, and other topics relevant to our community. We share these Middle School Musings here for the benefit and enjoyment of all who are interested. Read recent entries, browse the archives, and delight in Mr. O’Driscoll’s take on our Middle School and the amazing people who inhabit it.

 

 

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7th Grade Science Fair Reflections

7th Grade Science FairLast Tuesday and Wednesday the halls were abuzz with nearly 40 young scientists who had conceived of, designed, and executed a wide-range of fascinating experiments as part of this year's seventh grade Science Fair. Each project included at least 100 observed bits of data, resulting in a gyre of roughly 4,000 data points swirling about the McDonough Building. With all that information to wade through, it wasn't too hard to feel more enlightened after talking to these curious seventh graders. Here is a tiny sampling of some things I learned about from the students:

  • Silver is a great conductor of electricity, although it's cost prohibitive (but it is used in iPhones)
  • Cocoa butter is the most effective key ingredient if you want a lotion that is best at locking in moisture
  • Beeswax is the most effective key ingredient if you want a lip balm that won't melt in your hot car
  • How hydrogen peroxide affects seed germination
  • Potential kinetic energy and the role it plays in roller coaster design
  • The best tee height to use in golf to maximize drive distance (it's higher than you might think)
  • The chemistry behind molecular gastronomy
  • Birch bark is the most effective firestarter compared to printer paper, newsprint and cardboard

While I learned even much more than the brief snippets I listed above, what's more impressive is what the students learned about themselves. In keeping with great pedagogical practice, seventh grade science teacher Allison Roach had the students answer some reflective questions about the project and process. Here are some of the students' thoughts when it came to emerging knowledge of themselves:

  • I'm actually able to do things that I say I can't; I just need to try
  • I am determined to get something done
  • I need to keep on top of things a lot more and probably work on over-preparing more
  • I am a good learner when I focus and put my mind to it and block out everything else
  • I procrastinate too much
  • I need to manage my time better
  • I like chemistry 
  • I can get things done
  • I have an ability to do things efficiently and fast but thoughtfully
  • I did improve at public speaking a little
  • I do not like plants

Congratulations to the students and Allison for seeing their hard work come to fruition.

Posted by Trevor O'Driscoll in Learning Lab Method (LLM) on Monday April, 10
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