Middle Schoolers Explore Creative Topics in Personal Interest Projects

Eighth grader Shiraz explains the Personal Interest Projects and an overview of her project.

Prior to Winter Break, Middle School students were introduced to Personal Interest Projects (PIP), an exciting opportunity that stems from the school’s goal to continue to prepare and inspire students to think and act as innovators and leaders in the 21st century. PIPs are project-based learning opportunities that afford students the ability to explore something they’ve always wanted to learn, solve, make, or do. They are given time, guidance, resources, and encouragement, in order to dive into this self-directed educational opportunity. 

The PIP process will culminate in a school-wide exhibition in which students share their projects. The format of this exhibition will be determined at a later date based on school safety protocols. Students have dedicated times during the course of the day in which they work on their PIP, engaging in research, analysis, and application of their learning. During this time, teachers guide, model, and inspire students to find joy in wrangling with a challenge where there is no single “right” answer. To encourage innovative thinking, the focus is on a student’s process, not the finished product. Teachers have built planning documents and rubrics to give students guidance and regular feedback

Here is a sampling of PIP topics:

For my Personal Interest Project, I am going to learn about blueprints and try to make one. I chose this topic because I am interested in architecture, and I might want to be an architect when I grow up.

Benjamin P.
5th Grade

My Personal Interest Project is writing a haiku in Japanese. I chose this project, because I like writing haikus. Also, I think Japanese culture is super interesting so I decided to write a haiku in Japanese. I’m using an app called Kaizen to learn Japanese. There are different features that let you learn how to speak and write.

Ellie K.
7th Grade

For my Personal Interest Project, I am making jewelry, and the money I earn from selling it will go to Color of Change, a non-profit organization. I am taking classes to learn how to make the jewelry, and I am also learning how to market a product.

Michelle S.
6th Grade

My Personal Interest Project idea is to make a haptic virtual reality suit that uses interior tracking without cameras to track the body. I will need to learn how to use computer chips, and l will need to learn how to both physically and digitally code them. I will also need to make a prototype with simple machines with a 3D printer.

Spencer B.
8th Grade