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From determining the presence of genetically modified organisms in snack foods to a field study on coastal processes in Jacksonville, Florida, this year’s advanced science final projects explored a wide range of research topics and experiments.

Students in advanced biology, chemistry, physics, and environmental sciences courses displayed their work on a new website, which includes videos, images, lab reports, and graphics. The website was in lieu of an in-person Science Symposium, the traditional event where advanced science students present their final projects.

“The symposium couldn’t happen this year for a number of reasons, so this was our plan B, and it turned out really nicely,” said biology teacher Michael Edgar. Restrictions on indoor gatherings due to COVID-19 and a number of advanced science students learning remotely made an alternate option necessary. Since some students did not have access to labs for the traditional design-your-own (DYO) experiment, teachers opened up a research project option. 

Faculty member Rachel Pedersen, who teaches Advanced Physics, created the website and Alex Cesaretti ’24 contributed a photo for the homepage. Each student or group of students then designed their own pages, where they added video introductions, written descriptions, and more. One student even created original artwork to complement her page. Students’ “personalities showed through” in how they presented their projects, Edgar said.

Student communication about science is a focus of Milton’s Science Department. Teachers will check in with them throughout projects, challenging them to explain results and defend their conclusions, to promote conversations that help students understand the work. The traditional symposium isa great venue to hear from students about their projects, but the website may remain part of the annual tradition, Edgar said.

“There’s some talk about continuing a version of it in the future because it gives access to families who wouldn’t otherwise be able to come to the symposium to see the great work students are doing,” he said.