Apply Now

Science Experiments that Work and Don’t Work

March 22, 2023 | Melissa McCallihan

Seventh grade students have been hypothesizing, collecting data, and theorizing around a testable science topic. Some are timing how frozen liquids melt considering the density of each liquid, some are finding out if Bounty is the “quicker picker upper,” and another group is testing milk fat and ice cream. Which milk product produced the best ice cream? You’ll just have to come to the exhibition poster session and see.

Students are writing a lab report about their experiment and findings, creating a tri fold display of their work and will share in a poster session to their teams and to the parents. The science exhibition is one of eight that all seventh and eighth graders complete in their time at Mustard Seed School.

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. Fourth and fifth grade students present their findings on a variety of science and social studies topics as a part of STEAM. In every science project or assessment there is some presentation aspect included. 

What happens when what you plan doesn’t work? There is still learning. “It’s disappointing that our plan didn’t work at all,” said London. “I’m  pretty bummed,” remarked James. Both students hypothesized that they could change the ph value of drinks by filtering it. While they hoped it would work, they also understand that they have an answer to their hypothesis because it didn’t work and they will try again with a different filter or a new hypothesis. This perseverance and grit are observed in any one of the exhibitions.

If you’d like to attend the exhibition, it will be held, Wednesday, April 19, starting at 1 p.m., on the fourth floor. 


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.

Related Stories

May 30, 2023

Art and Engineering

Learn More
May 1, 2023

Sixth Grade Social Justice Event

Learn More
April 19, 2023

Science and Math Exhibitions

Learn More