For nearly two months our 7th and 8th-grade students have been preparing for the biggest project of the school year: The Bird and Mammal Presentations. Each student is asked to complete a 10–12-page research paper, a diorama on their chosen subject, and a 10-15 minute presentation including the creation of google slides for that presentation. 7th-grade students were able to choose a mammal to research while 8th-grade students were able to choose a bird to research.
In January, the teachers kicked off this assignment with students. They asked students to decide which bird/mammal they wished to research. Since duplication of presentations is not allowed, they needed to collaborate as a class to decide who will research which subject. Sometimes the old-fashioned, friendly game of rock paper scissors determines what bird/animal the student can research.
This project is interdisciplinary. Interdisciplinary projects are created by the middle school teaching team and they are based on a theme meaningful to students. Sister Claudine (Language Arts), Mrs. Auriana Hyllested (Science), and Mrs. Christie Nielsen (Computers) are the teachers who guide students through this assignment. As such, the grade they receive for this project impacts multiple classes including language arts, science, and computer class. Typically, a presentation like this is done at the high school or college level. This makes the completion of this project a major accomplishment for our students.
One of the most challenging parts of this project is presenting in front of their peers. The students gain academic skills like how to research, writing skills, and speech. They also learn responsibility, time management, creativity, planning, and organizing skills. Building confidence in students is a major goal of our teachers through this assignment. On the day of their presentation, they dress professionally, as they would for a job interview.
Congratulations to our 7th and 8th-grade students on their bird and mammal presentations!