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Poets & Scientists

Poets & Scientists
PJA hosted two incredible events this week, both of which showcased student learning, lifted up student voices, and demonstrated student courage, confidence, and creativity.

On Wednesday afternoon, a large audience of students, faculty, and families was entertained and moved by the poetry performed at the Middle School Poetry Slam. Over the past few weeks, students have crafted spoken-word poems around the guiding theme for our middle school's Jewish Studies and Humanities curriculum: If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? And if not now, when?

Inspired by the quote, students wrote poems about identity, the voices of others, and a call to action. For their "voices of others" poems, our seventh-graders incorporated stories they heard as part of their recent trip to Los Angeles, which focused on social justice. Students identified and emulated elements of spoken-word and slam poetry and practiced their delivery among their classmates. Twenty brave student poets and four teachers shared their original poems at the first ever, in-person, Middle School Poetry Slam!

The following afternoon, we held our annual Middle School Science Club Expo. Participation in Science Club is open to all Middle School students and this year, eleven students participated.

Those students have been meeting since November, dedicating one lunch and recess period each week to develop a question, plan a way to test their question, and meet with mentors to discuss their project's progression. On their own time, they conducted their investigations, collected relevant data, analyzed the results, developed conclusions, and created a tri-fold poster to present their experimental process. The culminating activity is the Science Expo where students present their findings in front of an audience of classmates, faculty members, and families.

This year’s science experiments attempted to answer these questions:
  1. Do push-ups help with throwing a football further?
  2. Are LED lights more efficient than other types of lightbulbs? An examination of energy lost as heat vs. converted to light
  3. How durable are 3D printed objects?
  4. Does salt content affect mold growth?
  5. How do emissions from cars affect the pH and chemical makeup of rainwater?
  6. Does doing squats improve running speed?
  7. Can you generate enough electricity from fruit to power an iPad? (How does the acidity of a fruit affect how much electricity a fruit can conduct?)
We are so proud of all of our poets and scientists! Kol hakavod to each of them! We are also so proud of the PJA teachers who create the environment where our students feel encouraged, supported, and brave enough to follow their passions, to ask hard questions, and to stand up and speak from their hearts.