A First Ever Symposium of Student Research
Just because we were forced to move to online, distance learning platforms did not stop the Wells students from completing impressive research and finding a way to share with their peers. Last Tuesday, June 9, 2020 was our first Wells Symposium, showcasing student research perspectives to the Wells community. Due to Covid-19 restrictions that kept us online learning until the end of this semester, we had to hold it online, but with an enthusiastic group of teachers and students the Symposium was a success!
The goal of this Symposium was to allow students to share the impressive work they have carried out with other members of Wells community, provoking thought and inspiration. This project was originally inspired by the work done by our AP Capstone students, but we recognized that other classes were also carrying out various projects worthy of sharing with others.
Students from all our high school grades presented their research throughout the day with other teachers and students. A total of 20 students participated, sharing their presentations or video projects via a Google Meet followed by a Q&A section.
Student presentations highlights the Wells research experience
It is rare to see students in high school taking on research of their own, so we were excited to see what investigations our AP Research students had to share. Gia Karamchandani (Class of 2021) presented her research titled “Effective Bioremediation Practices for Khlongs in Bangkok”, which was an exploration of home and lab practices to see whether common remediator plants found in Thailand could help to clean the famous Bangkok canals. Soumili Kar (Class of 2021) presented her research titled “Antibiotic resistance on bacteria found in Thai fruits and plants”, which gave insights into the lab techniques she used to explore the gram-positive/gram-negative resistance levels of bacteria. We are proud to see these two students following their interests in biology, diving deep into the fields of research, and explaining it in understandable terms to the audience.
Self-guided research into passion projects give students practical experience
Interspersed between these technical Biology presentations were five students from the Class of 2021 sharing their Theory of Knowledge “Passion Projects”. Yachi Shah shared about her challenges in designing her own prom dress, and Renesa Khanijow presented on learning about poverty and how she could get involved in making a difference (See her video here). Muskan Gurbuxani shared about her video making project, interviewing members of the school community and people around India about the happiest moments of their lives. Siddhi Bhora explained how digital drawing can also be art, and outlined her research process in understanding requirements to becoming a digital designer. Poorvi Daga and Shradha Silori documented their learning on how to make soap and eventually succeeded in giving over 100 bars of soap to the Class of 2020 and teachers earlier in the semester.
Wells students do not wait to start. They get experience early in grades 9 and 10
Next we were thrilled to see the Chemistry research into topics pertinent to everyday life, such as the chemistry of skincare products, basic nutrition, how soap works to protect against COVID-19 when washing our hands, and the science of sleep, which were presented by Angie, Chihiro, Prem and Maneka (Class of 2023) respectively. Three AP Computer Science Principles students, Arin, Kevin and Soyoon (Class of 2022), showed us the functionality of the apps they built and explained how the coding skills they learned allowed them to manipulate the digital world.
Finally, the day ended with AP Seminar students sharing their final argument presentations and two AP Biology COVID-19 presentations. Kendrick Acda, Uday Saighal and Paree Mirchandani (Class of 2022) enlightened the audience on their respective topics: materialism and its impact on happiness, the factors influencing well-being from sociocultural and biological perspectives, and the effectiveness of hedonic and utilitarian values on business advertising in social media apps. Nimaan Singh and Nicky Tamseree (Class of 2022) gave us enlightening and entertaining presentations about their research into COVID-19, as well as shared their thoughtful insights into the impact of social distancing on their lives.
We look forward to having a second round of the Symposium to share more insights!
Teachers reflect about being part of the Symposium in an online format
“I was impressed with presentations and the level of dedication and depth of research – commendable skills to accomplish. It was also nice to see a variety of topics outside of the mainstream curriculum chosen by students and the level of passion and creativity infused into their personal project. I learned a lot!” – Lee Forest, Business Management teacher
“Asking students to share their learning and experiences is very valuable for both other students and teachers. Their ability to articulate their learning process helps them to become more reflective and aware of what it means to be a researcher, and a lifelong learner. I was impressed by the presentations and I feel that by holding students to a higher standard, they often succeed in surpassing that standard!” – Katina Grigoraskos, TOK teacher
“One of the features that made the symposium a memorable experience was the open format for presentations and topics. Students and teachers had the chance to see other student-led discussions, which through an online platform, may have actually kept the audience more engaged than if it were done in person. I feel it brought out the best in the students when they were able to share a project they were passionate about, and gave way for students who would not yet be fully prepared to present in an auditorium like setting. – Arch Silapiruti, AP Research teacher
Article Written By: Ms. Katherine Caouette, AP & IB Coordinator