The middle school atrium buzzed with excitement on Wednesday as students showcased their R.E.A.D.Y. projects to peers and community members.
R.E.A.D.Y., which stands for Research, Experience, Action, Designed by You, is a semester-long independent study directed by Sue Laramie, Computer Science and Digital Applications teacher. Laramie was quick to point out that even though students used time in her Computer Science class, they were allowed to choose and focus on topics they found meaningful.
“The big question was ‘what interests you?’ or ‘what do you want to learn more about?’” she said, adding that the goal of the project was for students to take ownership of their learning through inquiry, trial, and error.
The unit began with students brainstorming ideas before selecting one topic of interest. After their topic was approved, students completed a plan outlining specific details of their project and then conducted research. Students were required to document their progress in preparation for a final presentation. The King community was invited to view and ask questions about the work during Wednesday’s extended advisory block.
Grade 8 student Alice Leng ’27 was interested in proving the theory of perpetual motion machines. After researching a variety of options she set out to build a wind-powered car. A YouTube video she saw indicated that this type of machine could run seemingly indefinitely from a small gust of wind, but Leng experienced different results. After constructing her version of the vehicle, she questioned the legitimacy of the video, noting that the machine didn’t have enough friction between the gears to generate enough force for sustained motion.
She concluded that “YouTubers always make things seem the way they want it to be, but it doesn’t always work.”
Students with similar interests worked in pairs on some of the projects. Jimi Kulig ’27, Alex Burgoyne ’27, and Ollie Mansfield ’27 share a love for horror films and worked together to create their own. After studying several classic horror films, they set out but quickly realized the complexity of cinematography. After playing back their first recording, “we realized the lighting wasn’t good, and you couldn’t hear us well,” said Burgoyne. Taking what they learned into consideration they rerecorded the movie with better lighting and audio.
Other students used their time to start projects with goals that extended beyond the class. Ana Failla ’27 wanted to bring more attention to the ASPCA. She created a logo for the organization and printed it on heat transfer paper, which was used to adhere the logo to a dog bandana. She plans to fill the bandanas with homemade dog treats that she’ll sell to raise money for the organization. “Hopefully, I can sell them on King Cares Day,” she noted.
”They were all so different,” Laramie commented, reflecting on this first year of R.E.A.D.Y. “It's exciting because the students are thinking long-term about their projects.”