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Science and Math Exhibitions

April 19, 2023 | Melissa McCallihan

Seventh grade students have been hypothesizing, collecting data, and theorizing around a testable science topic. Students are testing hypotheses that include milk fat content and the taste of ice cream, lowering the acidity of liquids, paper towel absorbency, and viscosity and melting liquids.  Students wrote a lab report about their experiment and findings, created a tri fold display of their work and shared it in a poster session to students and parents. The science exhibition is one of eight that all seventh and eighth graders complete in their time at Mustard Seed School.

Eighth grade students also presented today and their math exhibitions had a focus on social justice and inequality.  Students researched and gave presentations on a wide array of topics such as:  diversity in sports, immigration, gender wage gap, student loans, generational wealth and commute times.  Students collected data and analyzed them to support their findings.  This is the first year we have explored these types of topics for the math exhibition and it was  important for students to be able to see how math can be used to shape our worldview. 

Exhibitions have a long history at Mustard Seed and their purpose is to develop readiness and competence in a subject area. This is one of the long range projects that require the executive functioning skills of organizing, planning, self monitoring, time management and self control. Doing “a presentation” is not limited to the upper grades. Presenting your findings or a model you’ve made or your thoughts on a subject starts in preschool. And high school admission directors notice the difference in our students explaining that they are well prepared, well spoken, and advocate for themselves. 

Melissa McCallihan

Teacher, Grade 6; Science Grades 6-8

Teaching children to take risks and fail well is important to Melissa McCallihan, who has taught for over 30 years. She believes children learn as much through their failures as they do through their successes. She celebrates both in her classroom. In collaboration with the middle school director, art teacher, and other fourth and fifth grade teachers, Mrs. McCallihan has been instrumental in developing the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) program, an extension of the Lower School’s Shared Space model. “STEAM is where students solve problems and sometimes get it wrong,” says Mrs. McCallihan when asked about risks and failing well. “Students need to learn how to do that with grace, and to try again with grit and determination.” Mrs. McCallihan currently teaches sixth through eighth grade science.

Mrs. McCallihan cares deeply about relationships with her colleagues, students, and families. She works hard to make and maintain connections on a personal and professional level. And follows the mantra “Worship God, Love All.”

When not at school, you can find Mrs. McCallihan searching out a fantastic restaurant or hidden sight to see in New York City.

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