The April evening featuring Eighth Grade Recital Projects was a night of intriguing, thoughtful, and creative presentations. Also stunning was the array of topics -- from designing a soccer cleat for injury prevention, to writing novels, to making a film using stop-motion technology, to designing and constructing a computer-aided quadcopter.
This year marks twenty-two years of Recital Projects at Nueva, a student rite of passage and an opportunity to investigate and learn about a passion of one’s choosing. Each pupil selects a topic to research extensively, writes a paper, and aims to somehow better the world through the project. Each student also has a mentor to help guide him/her through the long-term project. Some students pursue the interest areas in high school and beyond (see this story about Natalia Duong).
Recital projects culminate more than a year of work. Initially, seventh graders meet four times in the spring to begin scoping projects. In eighth grade, students attend weekly I-Lab classes and employ the design thinking practices to brainstorm and evaluate options during each project stage.
Each year, the Nueva community eagerly awaits Recital Projects, and looks forward to the new crop of projects next year. Here is a sampling of this year’s Eighth Grade Recital Projects:
Entrepreneurship and Knee Braces: Researched the human knee, designed a knee brace, and designed a business plan to launch product into the market
Playing with Fire: Discovered and learned the complicated process of glassblowing
Kilimanjaro: Climbed and photographed Mount Kilimanjaro, a 19,000-foot in Tanzania and the highest mountain in Africa
Working with Animals: Shadowed a veterinarian and volunteered for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Fiat Lux: Designed, programmed, and sewed an LED-lit jacket, which lit up in different patterns and colors
Ad Campaign for the Environment: Learned about effective advertising and created ads to heighten environmental awareness
Jiu Jitsu for Dummies: Produced a compilation of Jiu Jitsu self-defense technique videos
La Petite Fille de Monsieur Linh: Translated La Petite Fille de Monsieur Linh from French to English
Politics for the Internet Generation: Created a website to educate children about politics and to provide a discussion forum on political issues
The Art of Pastry Making: Explored different types of pastry dough and baked a variety of pastries