Features

Healthy bodies, HAP-py lives

Students from Human Anatomy & Physiology (HAP) hosted the Healthy Body, HAPpy Life Museum here in North’s main hallway and library on Wednesday, January 14, presenting information in the form of exhibits about a wide variety of topics to the community.

Featuring multiple student-made presentations and displays, the Museum was created at North following the success of South’s HAP Museum last year.  The project counted toward the course’s midterm, and students were evaluated based on their preparation process and resulting exhibition mainly in relation to the district’s 21st-century competencies, such as collaborative teamwork and effective communication.

Interestingly, the project was entirely student-run.  Volunteer student “curators” took a main leadership role while the teachers took a more hands-off guidance approach.  The curators developed the rubric for the project, helped the students create their projects, and took care of logistical issues for the event itself.  The other students also worked on their projects over the course of a few months.

This unique project was ultimately very effective.  “The collaboration between students went above and beyond our expectations,” HAP teachers Shannon Devine and Holly Crochetiere said.  “We were impressed with the leadership our student curators exhibited.  Individual groups demonstrated ownership of their topic and displayed exemplary public speaking skills.”

The classmates worked in small groups to create their exhibits.  Each covered material from the first half of the HAP curriculum, ranging from self-chosen topics such as “Why do we yawn?” and “Why do we get goosebumps and shiver?”  The individual projects were made interactive, with the main goal of involving visitors and making the exhibits more fun for all members of the community.  For example, a group discussing the effect of exercise on the body incorporated yoga mats and weights into their exhibit.  Another group created a game in which visitors sorted food items based on how much each satisfied them, and the students; the group used this game to demonstrate why humans eat what they do.

The curators had previously reached out to students at Community and Town Center to encourage them to attend the event, and many young students subsequently visited the Museum.  “It was really informative, and all the students know everything about their topics, so it made it interesting to learn new things,” seventh-grader Meghana Padmanabhan said.

The Museum drew not only students but also adults and teachers from around the district, totaling approximately a hundred attendees.  “We were overwhelmed with the reception we received from the public that attended the Museum.  The feedback we have received has been very positive,” Devine and Crochetiere said.

However, a number of students felt there were some negative aspects to the project and event.  “The Museum project was unnecessarily time-consuming and stressful,” one student said.  “Having it after-school posed a time conflict for people with multiple activities.”  The student, one of several who expressed similar concerns, asked to remain anonymous.

Despite these drawbacks, the students generally felt that their hard work was rewarded.  Because each group covered a specific topic in-depth, the students were able to learn a lot from their peers as well. “The Museum was a very fun and creative way for students to share their knowledge while incorporating the 21st-century competencies the teachers were looking for,” junior Tiffany Leung said.
After witnessing the results of this year’s HAP Museum, Devine and Crochetiere are planning to continue the project next year.

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