Atlantis Symposium Showcases Independent Study Projects
How can I create original math problems using Pascal’s Triangle? How can I create a unique app that helps solve a problem? These and a host of other questions were the basis for independent study projects presented at a winter symposium by fourth, fifth and sixth graders in James H. Vernon School’s Atlantis program. The program provides a setting for eligible students to challenge their curiosity beyond the curriculum by participating in a variety of enrichment activities based on areas of interest.
Displayed in the Atlantis classroom, students were excited to explain their projects to family, friends and staff members who attended the event.
Nicholas Ramirez, a sixth-grade student who will be presenting his project at the Oyster Bay Manor on Tuesday, Feb. 13 at 3:30 p.m., developed an analysis of military strategies related to World War I trench warfare and explained with a Power Point presentation how trenches aided troops in combat.
Kaitlan Thomas, also a sixth grader, questioned how she could use an understanding of bridge design to create an original piece of bridge-inspired art. She created an original model of a suspension bridge out of popsicle sticks.
“The independent study projects are a way for students to explore their interests further and express their imagination in a creative way,” said Atlantis teacher Ms. Joanne Loring. “Along with building knowledge about interest areas, students develop research and project skills, and create original projects for real audiences.”
Each grade is presented with a different goal, according to Ms. Loring. The fourth-grade focus is on learning the steps of the independent process. The fifth-grade goal is to “think like experts.” They learn how to create a project like a professional by learning how to ask questions from an expert’s perspective and thinking about the audience an expert might have. Sixth graders are challenged to think on a higher level by developing unique, original projects aimed to make a difference for a specific audience.
With a focus on understanding the independent study process, fourth grader Quinn Rainey explored how surgical strategies have changed from Medieval Times and how these changes have affected people’s lives. Fifth grader Scarlett Shelley started “thinking like an expert” by creating a board game that addresses the complexities of cleaning up and saving animals after an oil spill, and sixth grader Joey La Rosa thought of a unique way to present pieces of art to enthusiasts by examining how to create tessellation-based artwork in an original style, different from such artists as M.C. Escher.
“I am always amazed at the variety of topics the students choose to learn about and the depth, complexity and originality of some of their work,” Ms. Loring said. “The projects often take a lot of time, effort, and hard work, which can be very rewarding and lead to a genuine sense of accomplishment.”
The symposiums, which have been taking place in the district for several years to showcase students’ independent study projects, are generally held twice a year, once in the winter and again in the spring. Other Atlantis work is also highlighted during the year.
Family and friends learn about the independent study projects developed by James H. Vernon School students during a winter symposium held at the school.
Vernon students Kaitlan Thomas and Isaac Campbell display their projects on bridge-inspired art and on the reasons behind people’s use of inaccurate approximations of Pi, respectively.
Vernon sixth-grader Joey La Rosa stands by his project of how to create tessellation-based artwork in an original style.
Vernon sixth-grader Nicholas Ramirez, left, will present his project on trench warfare at the Oyster Bay Manor on Tuesday, Feb. 13 at 3:30 p.m. Fourth-grader Quinn Rainey, right, investigated how surgical strategies have changed since Medieval Times.