The morning after their first Exhibitions in December, Division 1 students could be found in their classrooms dismantling displays, reading visitor comments, and sorting their essays, stories, and other projects into portfolios. These activities might look unremarkable to an outsider, but the room held palpable enthusiasm and relief.
Exhibitions, which occur three times every year, hold both excitement and trepidation for many students, who not only display their finished projects but discuss them with outside guests. As visitors move from classroom to classroom, students teach them about the essays, stories, experiments, sculptures, labs, and other projects they’ve completed in the past trimester. As 6th grader Ibrahim said, this process makes the work pay off because students get “to meet new people, and after they see your work, you got to see what they thought, which gives you new ideas.” Talking to new people can also be challenging for younger students, and Exhibitions provides them with the chance to practice this skill and gain greater comfort speaking publicly. “By the end of the evening, I felt a lot more confident talking about my work,” said 7th grader Jack.
At this Exhibitions, Division 1 students showed a wide range of work in terms of both form and content. In Humanities, they displayed thesis essays arguing whether Atalanta, the character from Greek mythology, is a hero or a villain, original myths that explain natural phenomena, and pottery sculpted and illustrated to demonstrate themes from these myths, among other projects. In Math, Science, and Technology, they exhibited Lego robots that they had programmed along with equations they wrote in order to manipulate those robots in a repeatable and systematic manner. In Español, they, along with many other students, sang the Mexican folksong “La Bamba” live in front of the entire Meridian community accompanied by Meridian’s Ukulele Army.
As she filed her papers and projects into her Humanities portfolio, 6th grader Isabel explained, “I really like this part of Meridian: the opportunity to show our work to other people, and for them to be inspired as well."