Middle Schoolers Empowered through Science - Mid-Pacific Institute

President's Blog

Middle Schoolers Empowered through Science

Posted on November 19, 2014

by Dr. Paul Turnbull on November 19, 2014

Our Mid-Pacific middle school students, led by their science teachers, are embarking on deep exploration of science fair projects this month. I would love to explore all of our students' projects in depth here, but given the limited time and space of this blog, I'll concentrate on just a few examples.

As our community knows, we are undertaking a major construction project to modify our middle school buildings. Based on new techniques in teaching and learning and based on some of the recommendations from our faculty-partners at the Harvard Grad School of Education's International Research Network, we are requiring more from our current classroom facilities because we want to provide our students with deeper opportunities for multi-discliplinary exploration. For example, we know that students and gifted faculty in this century need more flexible space that also offers more technological support across all disciplines. As problem solvers, we also refuse to be limited by our current space.

That led one of our science teachers, Ms. Erin Yagi, to partner with many University of Hawaii professors in order to expand our scope of research facilities and to provide our students with outstanding opportunities to pursue high-level investigations that went beyond the middle school curriculum. As a result, here are a few titles of our middle school projects:

Neutralization of phosphates from fertilized water to prevent algae blooms
The effect of sunscreen on the expulsion of symbiotic algae in Pocillopora damicornis
Utilizing luminosity to determine the size and shape of Near-Earth Objects

Sarah Project 1

One student in particular, Sarah Abdul-Ghani, is investigating the effect of food irradiation in her project, entitled: The Effect of UV light on strawberry DNA. If you click on the link to her project, you can listen to Sarah's interview on HPR's The Conversation last week.

Mid-Pacific is considered a destination independent school for many reasons. Today's blog is just one example of the incredible things happening on our campus everyday!

E Kūlia Kākou,

Paul Turnbull, Ph.D.