Seventh Grade Science Exhibitions

March 22, 2022 | Melissa McCallihan

Seventh grade students have been hypothesizing, collecting data, and theorizing around a testable science topic. Some are floating trains with magnets, some are testing soil from four locations and the viability to grow something. Another team is separating salt and pepper to show static electricity. Students are writing a lab report about their experiment and findings, creating a trifold 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, 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.

Admissions Directors at high schools always reference how well spoken and mature our students are when they come to interview,” stated Imaani Orr. Director of Admissions and High School Guidance. “They are not afraid or shy when addressing adults and they are always prepared with great questions.”

“The science exhibition is fun and exhilarating,”  Oliver stated as he and his team are discovering that their plan isn’t working like they thought it would. A fact we discuss often in science. Learning from what doesn’t work is just as important as when things do work. 

“The science exhibition is a unique experience to do something that you find interesting,” shared James. Anna added honestly, “It’s less scary than I thought it would be.” The tension between “can I do it?” and “I did it!” is another aspect of the exhibition work. The feeling of exaltation is palpable and evident when students complete sharing their exhibition. 


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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