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The lower campus of Dallas International School recently held a one-of-a-kind bilingual science fair complete with dual language presentations by the students that utilized QR code scanning technology to allow parents to view the presentation in both English and French. We sat down with the head of primary, Jean-François Lopez, to discuss the fair and the academic impact it had on the students.

 

Tell us more about this fair. What was its purpose?

 

It was all about science protocol. Students and teachers were working on the scientific method and it was very interesting for the science process. It was done in a bilingual way. It was all about helping students engage in writing and in talking and presenting in both English and French.

 

How excited were the students to incorporate the QR code technology into their presentations?

 

Oh, it was great. It was very interesting to get the QR code because students were able to review their speeches in both languages and be able to present that to parents orally. They were working specifically on oral skills in both languages, which is very good.

 

What types of experiments did the students do?

 

We actually assigned each grade level one experiment, so each grade level worked on the same thing. We did this to help the students think with a critical mind. You have results, but if you compare them with other students, then you learn much more. It helps them go from belief to reality. But they did some fun experiments. One grade level did an experiment to see which liquid rots a nail the fastest—Coke, water, vinegar or other things. They were all really interesting.

 

How did the parents react when they came in to see the presentations?

 

They were very excited. They were so happy to see the QR codes and to see more interaction with technology in the teaching process. It was interesting for them and really nice because everything was done with just one QR code scan. I was glad they were able to understand what our bilingual education means.

 

What do you hope was the biggest lesson learned by students, teachers and parents through this science fair?

 

That our bilingual education is special. It’s not two parallel language curriculums, it’s merged as one, with both French and English teachers working on the same skills. Both teachers were working on the same thing and that showed in the fair. They really did an amazing job with the students. It was incredible to see everyone working together.

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Ask Kamel Zouaoui what he does for work, and the answer is simple.

 

“I am a storyteller,” he says. “I travel the world to tell stories and teach. I consider my hometown to be the world, as if I were a tourist.”

 

Zouaoui is an artist, and though he’s lived in Paris for the last 20 years, he spends most of his weeks on the road, telling stories to audiences in theatrical settings and leading creative workshops for students. He spent this week with students from the upper and lower campuses of Dallas International School, first with the younger ones at Churchill, and then with the older ones at both the Waterview campus and those participating in this week’s Multilingual Theater Festival at the Dallas Children’s Theater.

 

His first goal when he set foot on the Churchill campus was to help the students come out of their shell. He accomplished this by helping students write, act out and record their own play, and then leading them in voice exercises that let them be heard.

 

“I always ask students to write stories in the class,” he said. “We made two shows for all the children to see, and they went really well. Their stories were incredible. That and the voice exercises help them consider the importance of speaking. Sometimes they have very important things to say but they don’t say them with any volume. And we want to hear them. It’s for them to think about the importance of being heard by others.”

 

Zouaoui has recorded these class plays in 17 different locations around the globe, and he loves letting the students see the work of their peers in other countries. He especially enjoys hearing the students perform in French, some for the first time.

 

“It’s amazing because they have the capacity to listen and to have a French show,” he said. “Some of them had never heard or seen a French show before.”

 

Once the fun was done at Churchill, Zouaoui performed one of his stories for the students at Waterview and then joined the upper school theater students at the Dallas Children’s Theater for the Multilingual Theater Festival the next day. Gathered there were students from six different schools across the country, participating in various theater workshops to improve all facets of stage performance.

 

For his workshop, Zouaoui taught the young performers about life as an artist and led them in various exercises to improve their speaking technique and storytelling chops. He also emphasized the importance of teamwork in a theatrical group.

 

“I teach them and remind them the importance of being together,” he said. “The groups are in solidarity with each other. We did an exercise where one student pretended to be blind and the others had to guide him to walk across the room using only their voices. They couldn’t touch him or help him in any other way.

 

“It’s a great way to teach them how to use their voice and use the space,” he continued. “They spoke French and English and have different backgrounds but they were all working toward the same goal”

 

Zouaoui, who utilizes a special French program to help fund his artistic pursuits, said that learning about art and artists is important for a young person’s development.

 

“Being an artist is important for humanity,” he said. “When they’re acting, it’s a good opportunity to be someone else. You have an opportunity to have a different eye for the world. And it’s an opportunity for the students to enjoy themselves.”

 

After the festival is over, Zouaoui will fly out to his next destination. But he had one last request he wanted to pass along to the parents of the young artists he taught at DIS.

 

“Tell your children stories,” he said. “There is a magical link between people and stories. Tell them a story and then have them tell you one.”

 

After their week with Zouaoui, they should have no trouble doing that.

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Kyra Naylor is a graduate of the Dallas International School class of 2016 and is currently studying at Southern Methodist University. As she finishes up her sophomore year at university, we sat down with her to learn more about her future plans and past successes as a DIS Tigre.

How has school been going? What are you up to?

I am about to enter my junior year at SMU. I am a declared World Languages Major (French & Spanish), Art History Major, an Arts Management minor and photography minor, which keeps me very busy. I also am starting to look at law schools and preparing for the LSAT. I wanted to get involved in the local community so I try to volunteer with SMU’s Not On My Campus group as much as possible, as well as the HPUMC. Growing up and going to DIS, I was very fortunate to have parents who encouraged me to travel internationally, but nowadays I am trying to see more of the United States. So, I have been traveling a lot more locally with friends.

How do you feel like Dallas International School prepared you for your college experience?

As an art history major, I have to write a lot of research papers and DIS definitely prepared me for that. Also, DIS had me memorizing verbatim poems, lessons and other things since first grade, so memorizing and preparing for exams is less stressful and time-consuming.

What is the biggest difference between life at DIS and life at SMU?

At DIS, I was so used to having a very diverse surrounding and a lot of structure, whereas at SMU I feel like I’m at a school with people very similar to me and I definitely have a lot more freedom, which has its pros and cons. I was expecting to be a little overwhelmed going to a school so much larger than DIS, but SMU has such a tight and close-knit community that I can’t go from one class to another without running into friends.

What do you miss most about DIS?

I miss my teachers most of all. Most of my classes now hare pretty large with over 50 students, but every once in a while I have a small class, but even then I don’t have the same close relationship with my professors as I did at DIS.

If you could give a piece of advice to the students at DIS, what would it be?

Just really take advantage of your time at home with your family and friends, because once you get to college life really starts rolling. I’m halfway done with my undergraduate studies, but it feels like I started school yesterday.
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What do Mandarin Chinese, hip-hop dance, and emoji design all have in common? They’re all among the wealth of offerings at Dallas International School’s Summer Enrichment Camp. And like soccer, sculpting, and countless other activities available at this six-week program, these courses offer students diversity, flexibility, educational enhancement, and the chance to learn new skills while having great fun.
 
“Our day camp has run for more than three decades, and it grows more with each passing year,” says Yohanis Mibrathu, Director of the DIS Summer Enrichment Camp. “In 2018, we’ll have 60 staff members and more than 400 students. We’ll be introducing new activities such as DJ classes, Omnisports, and computer-game programming. And we’ll be offering camp on the upper school grounds as well as at the lower school location so we can extend more choices to our campers.”
 
Diversity
DIS summer camp is broken into two three-week segments; kicks off on Monday, June 11; and wraps up on Friday, July 20. Its final deadline for enrollment is Monday, June 4. And on two Fridays—June 29 and July 20—it hosts “Summer Joy,” with students hitting the stage to show their parents everything they’ve learned at camp.
 
That learning spans the full spectrum. “Essentially, we offer many camps rolled into one,” says Aisha Dibaki, the DIS Summer Enrichment Camp Coordinator.
 
Over the course of six weeks, students are welcome to explore literary offerings (such as creative writing); scientific ones (such as “little vet school”); the artistic (i.e. photography and painting); and the athletic (i.e. tennis and soccer).
 
Children ages three through 13, who comprise the bulk of campers, convene at the lower school or Churchill campus, while those in the 5th to 12th grades have the option to meet—for the first time in 2018—at the upper school or Waterview location, where many of them attend classes during the school year.
 
Roughly six percent of campers come from overseas. “Meeting these newcomers helps DIS students broaden their horizons,” says Mibrathu. “They forge friendships and cultural exchanges that enrich their lives, and that last well beyond summer camp.”
 
Flexibility
For children who come from abroad—and for locals whose families take summer vacations—the structure of DIS summer camp offers much-welcomed flexibility.
 
“Parents get to build each camp schedule for each individual child,” says Dibaki. “On our enrollment form, there are a total of twelve options for the six weeks.”
 
Activities are available in the morning (9am-12pm) and in the afternoon (12:30-3:30pm), with a break between sessions for a healthy catered lunch. Students can come anywhere from a half day for a single week to full time for all six weeks.
 
Starting as early as 7:30am and continuing as late as 6pm, childcare is available for youngsters whose parents are juggling busy schedules.
 
When camp wraps up in the afternoon, students at Waterview can take guitar lessons, while those at Churchill can enjoy summer-school activities including piano, origami, and basketball.
 
Educational enhancement
Whether campers opt to explore chess, crafting, or culinary classes, educational enrichment is part of every offering.
 
Foreign-language instruction—one of DIS’s key strengths—is a core component of camp, and is available not just to kids, but to their parents as well. Taught from kindergarten through 12th grade during the DIS school year, French is also available here—as are Arabic, German, Mandarin, Spanish, and English as a Second Language.
 
“We try as much as possible to mix language learning with other activities,” says Mibrathu. “Campers can do everything from sports to cooking classes in French.”
 
No matter what languages or other subjects they’re learning, children at DIS summer camp are continually building new skills.
 
“During our new Omnisports sessions, we’re learning a combination of soccer, dodgeball, rock climbing, and other sports,” says Kenneth Jones, who coaches Omnisports and basketball at the DIS summer school. “But we’re also learning teamwork, communication, and how to keep our heads in the game.”
 
Though camp gives DIS students a very different experience than the one that they enjoy during the school year, this experience is vital and valuable in and of itself. “This is play-based learning,” says Mibrathu, “but it’s learning that is guaranteed to stick with these students long after the summer is gone.”
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The bell at Waterview campus rang at 11:30 a.m., signaling the end of Amy Blankson’s presentation, which elicited an audible groan of disappointment from the assembled students in grades 8-12. They wanted her to keep speaking.

 

Blankson, a happiness researcher and expert who holds degrees from Harvard and Yale, laughed and thanked the students for being attentive listeners. Several lined up to get a word in with her before scurrying off to class. Blankson’s talk had been profoundly influential, and its effectiveness as part of Dallas International School’s “Be Happy” campaign was clear.

 

DIS recently has focused on helping its students at the Waterview campus develop a happier lifestyle and a culture of positivity in and out of the classroom. Thus, the “Be Happy” campaign was developed and implemented, with several components making up the initiative, including:

  • Values-based activities to reinforce the DIS Core Values: Empathy, Integrity, Resilience, Respect and Responsibility with projects led by the student council and the House system leaders.
  • Understanding the concept behind being happy, its benefits and how to get there.
  • Introduction to meditation for Waterview students, led by DIS parent Nawal Bendefa. (We wrote about this initiative in a previous article that you can read here.)

 

Blankson’s presentation addressed the second of these three points, and while the students perhaps thought they were in for a run-of-the-mill assembly when they filed into the MPR on Wednesday, they were treated to so much more.

 

“Over the last 200 years, the use of the word ‘happy’ in our vocabulary has been going down,” Blankson said. “We’ve studied it so much, and what we began to find is that no matter where you were in the world, happiness is something that we aspire to, but we had forgotten how to get there.”

 

Blankson then outlined the process that most of us follow in our lives: “moving the goalposts” after each life achievement to some loftier goal that is always a little out of reach, thereby denying ourselves happiness and satisfaction all along the way.

 

“We keep pushing happiness over the cognitive horizon,” she said. “If you reverse the formula for success, if you pursue happiness first, it will make you successful. If you have a more positive brain, your brain performs better.”

 

The rest of the presentation focused on Blankson’s three main findings in her research, which she challenged the students to implement in their daily lives: happiness is a choice, happiness is a habit and happiness spreads. Some impressive figures helped back up her research.

 

“If we figure out how to be more positive in our brains, we become three times more creative, 31% more productive, 10% faster on tests, 10% more accurate on tests and 23% less tired,” she said.

 

Blankson’s assertion that happiness is a choice is borne not only out of her research, but also her personal life experiences. She lost her house in Hurricane Katrina while living in Biloxi, Mississippi.

 

“I didn’t know if I would be able to feel happy again,” she said. “But 90% of happiness has to do with the way you perceive the world around you. We all have things that happen. The way we deal with them determines how we view the future and deal with other things in our lives.”

 

To illustrate the concept of happiness being a habit, Blankson asked the students to work on one of the five points that make up her favorite phrase, J-GAME: journaling, gratitude, acts of kindness, meditation and exercise. Each student in attendance committed to working on one of the five recommendations to create a new habit of happiness and enrich their personal lives.

 

Finally, Blankson asked the students to pair up so that she could show that happiness indeed spreads. Each student took a turn acting serious, while the other student was tasked with making his or her partner laugh, but only by using their eyes. Predictably, everyone was in stitches within a few seconds.

 

This fed into Blankson’s point of making sure that DIS students support each other and contribute to each other’s happiness.

 

“People that provide social support are 40% more likely to receive it in return,” she said. “The best way to make yourself feel better is to do something nice for someone else.”

 

DIS’ “Be Happy” campaign will continue throughout the school year. Considering the meditation that has already been implemented on campus and the dynamic nature of Blankson’s talk, it’s off to a great start.

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Learning a new language isn’t easy, but it’s especially tough if it’s the primary language spoken in the country you just moved to.

 

 

This is the challenge that faces students in the English as a Second Language (ESL) class at Dallas International School. Coming from French-speaking countries, these young Tigres spanning Kindergarten through fourth grade often know very little English. They’re able to communicate perfectly in French with their classmates, so they spend a good deal of their day following a normal schedule, but they also take time for ESL with their teacher, Andrea Ewert.

 

 

Ms. Ewert has taught ESL for 12 years, and before that she was an art teacher. While there is a specific academic curriculum that her ESL students follow, she has also merged her two teaching expertise into a new arts and culture project that has helped her students open up and learn in ways they never had before. The class just recently finished its third of five separate art projects that aim to “explore, celebrate and express” each student’s heritage, background and differences.

 

 

“First, they designed and drew a flag that shows the flags of the places they have lived,” Ms. Ewert said. “And then they did a watercolor of the landscape of their home country and one of Texas. We talked about the how the two places are different. They’re celebrating what they like about two places.”

 

 

Ms. Ewert said this idea is key to the entire ESL experience. Students are taught that neither country is better than the other, but rather, they’re different from each other. Students may like or dislike specific aspects of each place, but it’s the difference that’s worth examining and celebrating.

 

 

“As they’re working, they’re able to celebrate who they are and where they’re from,” Ms. Ewert said. “When they’re printing France and talking about it they’re celebrating even when they’re far away. It sort of pulls out feelings they have for the places as they’re working.”

 

 

The students also made a collage that represents both countries and will soon work on a clay pattern that does the same. The final project will be a memory quilt made up of cherished memories from their mother country.

 

 

These art projects aren’t solely for cultural enrichment, however. Through artwork, ESL students learn aspects of the English language that would be difficult to acquire through a textbook.

 

 

“What I’ve seen is they’re using a different kind of language to learn,” Ms. Ewert said. “There’s a social language there, not just an academic language. It really helps with their vocabulary.”

 

 

As the students progress in their English skills through the art projects and other aspects of the class, Ms. Ewert has observed the positive change it makes in their school experience.

 

 

“A big part of learning a new language is their attitude toward their experience,” she said. “Their self-esteem is also involved. They can’t do it well for a while and it’s hard. They know they don’t know as much English as other DIS students do. So doing a piece of artwork in here that is perfect helps them combat feelings of ‘I’m not good enough’ or ‘I don’t know as much as other people.’”

 

 

Ms. Ewert works hard to make her students feel special, not only through unique art projects, but in other ways, such as enlisting the help of more experienced students in teaching new students in the class, or taking everyone on a field trip to the Veterans Day parade to learn more about the American armed forces. It’s all part of helping the students feel welcome in their new home, while letting them love and remember their first home.

 

 

“Through art, I think it’s beautiful for kids to express themselves and find a voice,” she said. “In art, there is no right or wrong. It is just what they’ve experienced. I want to make their experience positive and I want them to feel good about the process and feel amazing to be bilingual and have two places to adapt to.”

 

 

The ESL art projects will be on display for community members to see near the end of the school year. Keep an eye out in the Globe to find out when and where the exhibition will take place!

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The staff and faculty at Dallas International School were given a rare treat during their staff development day a few weeks ago: a few minutes of peace and quiet.
 
These school leaders are used to controlled chaos in their everyday working life, so Nawal Bendefa, a meditation and mindfulness professional and DIS parent, was brought in to help everyone relax, breathe and “focus on the moment.”
 
Bendefa, who recently moved to Dallas and has a fourth grader at the school, is working together with DIS to bring the concepts of meditation and mindfulness not just to the staff and faculty but to the students as well. Starting with middle schoolers, students will have a few minutes on select days to stop working, meditate, focus and simply enjoy a bit of silence.
 
“We are looking to develop a pilot program in middle school,” Bendefa said. “There is a transition in this age between middle and high school and there’s so much decision making there. They’re going to be asked to choose for their future. So we are trying to help them reach the clarity there.”
 
Bendefa uses mindfulness practices with businesses in her capacity as a career coach, but she says the positive impact that mindfulness and meditation can have on school-age children is often more noticeable. This was evident when she stopped by a fourth grade class this week and led them in a session of “laughing mindfulness,” where students were able to act out funny scenes, such as a car being unable to start, to help them relax and clear their minds.
 
“It helps students with stress reduction, self-awareness, self-management,” she said. “They’re more aware of their emotions, they’re more aware of the emotions of others and it also gives them more focus and effectiveness. Sometimes they’re aware and they can feel it in their body, and sometimes they’re supposed to feel in a certain way. It helps them get out of the herd mentality and be more aware of themselves and where they are in any situation.”
 
Bendefa said that mindfulness helped her change and improve her own life.
 
“I got into mindfulness for personal reasons,” she said. “I started while living in South Korea. I started meditating, and the results were fantastic with my health. Then I started using it in my profession.”
 
Though the pilot program will be initially aimed at middles schoolers, Bendefa said that all children, regardless of age, can benefit from these practices.
 
“Especially with younger children, it helps them focus on their attention,” she said. “They’re also developing the body-heart connection, through things like compassion and empathy. They learn to care for themselves. They learn to be nice to themselves and to others.”
 
Eventually, she envisions a program that is implemented at all levels of the school, helping students, staff and teachers alike to focus better, live healthier and be happier.
 
“We hope this will help them become more responsible citizens,” Bendefa said. “It gets bigger and bigger. It gets beyond the classroom and the school. In mindfulness, we talk about wholeness. It’s all connected.”
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When you see the stunning works of art that fill the lower school gym, it seems a stretch to believe they were created by elementary school children.

 

These are no ordinary finger paintings or simple clay pots. They’re the special Gala Class Projects, an annual tradition at Dallas International School that lets students create original works of art that reflect the country they’re studying throughout the academic year. This year’s projects reflect the color and vivacity of Jamaica.

 

Working together as a class, and under the supervision of teachers and parents, the resulting pieces are truly something to behold. But they’re also an excellent vehicle for learning.

 

“The kids learn many things about the country of the year as the project is done around it, depending on the execution of the project,” said Diana Darwish, a DIS parent who helped coordinate the projects. “They learn new methods to create art, they become more creative and they learn that when each of them contributes to something they can create a unique and international piece of art.”

 

The creative process begins with parents who volunteer to act as class project leaders. They then sit down with teachers and brainstorm artistic ideas, eventually resulting in a solid plan. The project leader then takes on full responsibility of executing the project, while the teacher prepares the right environment for making the project, as it can take up to several hours. The teacher divides the classroom into groups: one group works on the project while the other continues their daily classwork, then switch. The students are the artistic stars, as they put the idea to paper, canvas, sculpture or whatever form their project takes.

 

Ms. Darwish said that the projects are especially beneficial to the DIS community in three ways.

 

“First, it’s a learning experience for the kids that exposes them to art and the country of the year,” she said. “It’s also a learning experience for parents that connects them to teachers and classes as well as other parents. It’s also a financial benefit as the projects are sold at the Gala and they turn out funds for the school.”

 

The pieces are entered into a special auction at the Gala, and bidding for the projects tends to get quite competitive.

 

“I think the community members learn about the different backgrounds that the projects were created in and they learn to appreciate that they were made with love by small hands,” Darwish said. “It’s the hands of their children and they become emotionally attached and the project becomes priceless in their eyes.”

 

When these works find their eventual homes, the yearly process is complete. Everyone in the community benefits, but Ms. Darwish says it always comes back to the students.

 

“You can just see their excitement when the teachers announce that it’s time to work on the project,” she said.  “The love and excitement of the kids when you see them working on the project is so special and unique.”

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Calista Fyfe is into pretty much everything. It’s not uncommon for the Dallas International School senior to debate policy in her global politics class in the morning, grind through a basketball practice in the afternoon and work on designing an elaborate costume at night. That’s just a typical day.

 

“Being at DIS has shaped me into loving a lot of different things,” she said. “That’s why I fell in love with it. I want to try different things.”

 

That curiosity led Calista, who’s been at DIS since kindergarten, to try out for the basketball team in high school, despite not having played extensively growing up. A few whirlwind seasons later, she’s been recruited to play collegiately at Sarah Lawrence College, a liberal arts school in New York.

 

“The coach came out last year to one of our practices and he liked us,” she said. “I visited campus in October, met some of the girls and got to see the gym. We haven’t had a signing ceremony yet, but we are going to and I’m going to be playing.”

 

Calista said that she never envisioned herself as a college athlete, but once she joined the DIS basketball team, she couldn’t get enough of the sport.

 

“It’s definitely weird, because if you would have told me a couple years back that I was going to be playing basketball in college, I wouldn’t have believed you,” she said. “But it’s awesome. (DIS basketball coach) Jones is awesome. I’m a point guard and one of the captains so I help lead the team, and I just love it.”

 

Playing basketball has also helped her change her perspective and attitude. She’s learned a lot about teamwork and leadership.

 

“I think a lot of what DIS stresses is academics and independence, but through basketball I’ve learned to rely on and support other people to be better,” she said. “We aren’t necessarily a spectacular team in terms of on-court play, but we’ve learned with each other. You don’t need to win all the time. You can just do something because you love it.”

 

But basketball isn’t her only love, or her first. That would be art. Calista is in IB Visual Arts, a small, extremely high-level art class. Instead of a strict curriculum, teachers encourage free thinking and individual expression.

 

“It’s been really interesting finding out who I am through art and what I like to do,” she said. “Being able to do my own thing and create my own work and get to see myself develop through art is really helpful. I find myself doing it now even when I don’t have to.”

 

Calista’s art take many forms, from photography to drawing, painting, printmaking and costume design. She’s even been featured in the Dallas Morning News for one of the costumes she made and wore to Dallas Fan Days (previously Dallas Comic Con).

 

“Art is definitely something I want to pursue in college,” she said. “It’s been a lot of fun. Even making mistakes and learning to make it work, it’s been fun.”

 

As a student at a liberal arts college, Calista won’t have a set major, though she plans to focus on politics and political science.

 

“Loving a lot of things is why I fell in love with liberal arts,” she said. “But my dream job would be a UN ambassador for a French-speaking country, somewhere in Africa or around the globe.”

 

Now so close to the end of her journey at DIS, Calista said her experiences at the school, including the struggles and challenges, have shaped who she is.

 

“Being a French school, there were some things that my family found odd, because we’re all American,” she said. “But it was good to learn to adopt a new mentality. It is definitely challenging, but there are still a lot of fun things to do. The teachers are awesome. They help us out so much, especially in high school. Getting to learn French is awesome. It’s been tough, but it’s like a family. It’s worth it. I’ll definitely miss it.”

 

The chatty, do-it-all senior stops talking, just for a moment.

 

“Geez now I feel like I’m going to cry!”

 

But she doesn’t. She hustles out of the office and, just a few minutes later, she’s in the art studio, working.

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A typical room full of sixth graders is an epicenter of energy, but when you walk in to a room full of sixth graders proudly presenting their recently completed science projects to their teachers and peers, well, it’s even more of a circus.

 

The upper school DIS science fair began on Tuesday in this frenetic fashion, with a large cluster of 11-and 12-year-olds stuffed into the third floor biology lab, assembling and presenting their own scientific experiments while gabbing excitedly with classmates about theirs.

 

“The sixth graders came up with extremely original ideas,” said Hennah Abubaker, a science teacher (and science fair judge) at the school. “They used what we had learned in class within their projects.”

 

Indeed, a visitor need look no further than the neat setup of Bryce Chun, Nathan Briard and Julien Sakouhi, who heavily researched Sir Isaac Newton’s three laws of motion and built an aeolipile, or a “simple bladeless radial steam turbine which spins when the central water container is heated,” though this one was ingeniously constructed with a plastic cup, straws and string in lieu of fire. The aeolipile helps illustrate Newton’s third law of motion, which states that “every action has an equal and opposite reaction.”

 

“I knew about the laws of motion but I couldn’t find a good example of them, so it was really interesting to build this,” Bryce said.

 

“For me, it was Sir Isaac Newton,” said Julien. “I really liked learning about him and I liked learning about his laws.”

 

Abubaker said there are lots of lessons to be learned from working as a team to come up with an original experiment.

 

“I wanted the students to learn time management and organizational skills,” she said. “I hope they were able to experience how scientists come up with questions and conduct experiments to prove or disprove their theories. I also hope they had opportunities to make mistakes without being discouraged.”

 

Bryce, Nathan and Julien certainly weren’t. Ask any of them about science and their faces light up.

 

“Science is one of the most interesting classes,” Nathan said. “It shows what our life is focused around. Plus science can help people. Using your imagination can help you and others.”

 

“I love science because it’s included in everything we do,” Julien agreed. “It’s very fun and it can revolutionize the world one day.”

 

Parents also had the opportunity to view their students’ projects and listen to their presentations.

 

“I hope the parents were able to appreciate not just the hard work but the students’ passion for science, which is something I’ve been blown away by,” Abubaker said. “They have really shown a high level of investigative skills and I’ve been super impressed.”

 

So was this writer. Just listen to Bryce, Nathan, Julien or any other DIS student talk about science and discovery, and you’ll rest assured the future is in good hands.

 

“Science is traveling into the unknown while still explaining your everyday life,” Bryce said.

 

Then he filled the aeolipile with water one more time and watched it spin around, delighted.