Middle School: Driving Questions Lead to Pure Genius

Over 100 projects were on display at this year’s second annual Genius Projects held on December 5th.  Scores of guests and the entire school filled the MPR, eager to learn, explore and be wowed by an extraordinary exhibition of inventions and thought provoking presentations submitted by our Middle School students.

A small sampling of projects included: Passion for a cause: Body dysmorphia and low self-esteem in teens: What can we do?;  Animation: A history and how-to; Dance, learning, and the brain; Apple, technology, and its impact on the world; Rightie or Leftie? Can we become more ambidextrous?;  Korean Language and Culture; Writing and Publishing a Book; Are Artists Born or Made?; Creating a Profitable Small Business; and Photography: history, equipment and techniques.

“At first I just wanted to learn calligraphy,” explained an animated Noah Unzek, as he talked about his project.  “But then when I researched more about it, I found out that a fine motor skill like that can help the brain after a traumatic brain injury. I really want people to know about this.”

“My driving question was how to create a stop motion video that convinces people to donate to Arizona Helping Hands,” said Asher Stein. The Pardes student has volunteered there with his family and really loves the work they do.  “I wanted to get people interested in the organization.”

“Did you know that by 2050 there will be more garbage than fish in our oceans?” exclaims a passionate Isaiah Rosales.  “It upsets me that there are people out there who don’t care about our environment (or themselves).” Isaiah’s project teaches others ways they can personally help make a difference to protect our oceans.

The Genius Projects are part of the school’s ongoing mission to prepare and inspire students to think and act as innovators and leaders in the 21st Century landscape.  This project-based learning opportunity affords them the ability to engage in cross-curricular studies without the boundaries of segmented class times. Students are motivated to gain knowledge and apply the skills they learn in school to personally relevant and real-world situations.  And who knows, participating in today’s Genius Projects, might just inspire a Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg of tomorrow!