O’Neill students share their passions

Dark matter. Genetics. Sharks. Glitter. Aliens.

These are just a few of the many topics that O’Neill seventh graders picked for their Passion Projects this school year. Similar to the Genius Hour concept, O’Neill science teachers Kit Hamilton and Sarah Pinkus asked students to pick any topic, research it deeply, and present it to their peers.

“We encouraged students to pick something that they feel passionate about,” Ms. Hamilton said. “This freedom inspired students to take ownership of their projects. The students really worked hard on their research and presentations.”

After the final presentation, the teachers hosted a special Passion Project Awards Ceremony to celebrate the students’ work. On Tuesday, Feb. 21, the O’Neill LRC was transformed into awards show space, complete with red carpets, ceiling stars, a VIP photo backdrop and small awards that resembled Oscars. The teacher announced five categories of Passion Project award winners for each class period: Crazily Creative Presentation, Attentive Audience Member, Pizazzy Presenter, Super Scientist and the coveted Genuine Genius. Students voted for the winner for each category.

Each student walked down the classroom “red carpet,” shared enthusiastic high-fives with peers, accepted his or her award, and gave a speech.

Way to inspire your students, Ms. Hamilton and Mrs. Pinkus!

We will share more about this innovative project in the next Communicate 58!