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.