Young Designers’ Conference

By Meridian Students (representing all grade levels!)

Young Designers’ Conference was a day filled with “maker” activities. It started off with an all-school presentation by a keynote speaker, and they we go to attend two different workshops, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Everything looked really interesting. There were science classes, technology classes, art classes and more! We didn’t all get to attend our top choices, but we ended up really liking the workshops anyway.

The conference was fun, but also hard work. Some workshops were challenging because we didn’t have teams or groups, but working independently was fun too! We learned a lot more than we thought we were going to. The keynote speaker (Rick Hartman, “Gears of Invention”) was amazing, and his presentation was interesting and insightful!

We loved becoming designers for a day because we like to be creative thinkers and use our imagination. We think it is important to try things that you’ve never tried before. You are allowed to fail when you are designing, which is a good thing! It’s good to fail because it lets you see how difficult some things can be, and helps you discover and learn new approaches. Young Designers’ Conference is also a great way to explore jobs that parents and adults might have to see if we would enjoy that as a career.

It was a really hands on experience, so we got to dig deep into different activities and topics. We loved the whole conference and are excited to learn what the workshops will be next year!

Experimenting in the Science Lab!

By Meridian 4th Graders

The science room is an actual lab  that we all get to visit every week. There is a lot of space. It helps that we can see the projects that other classes are doing, instead of just seeing your own experiments. It’s really cool to see what everyone is working on. It’s also great to have Kelsey as a teacher, because she’s really nice and knows so much about science. She talks to you like an individual and an equal, rather than a kid scientist, which is really refreshing!

We do lots of experiments in the science lab (which are really fun). We do water tests, collision examples, erosion, pollution and more. There are experiments related to our Global Studies focus, Oceania, like detecting acidity in water and earthquake/flood demonstrations. The learning tools that we have in the lab like microscopes and all the large tools aren’t in our regular classrooms so it’s awesome we get to do more engaging experiments now that there is a dedicated space for it!

A big focus in the lab this year is studying the life cycle of salmon. We got salmon eggs from a hatchery, and we are raising them right now. We went to Carkeek Park to observe salmon and understand them. We got to see them hatch and move around. Then we got salmon eggs of our own to raise and observe in the science lab. One salmon fry had two heads, which was amazing to see! We are giving the salmon a better chance to survive when we release them because there are no predators in our tank. We are protecting them when they are most vulnerable. Out of about 300 salmon, only two will return to spawn!

Twice a week we test chemical levels in our salmon habitat. We make sure the levels are good for the salmon to live. The chemicals were fine in the beginning but lately they have been kind of high, we
are trying to figure out why (which is a fun experiment itself). It is rewarding, but a big responsibility, because if we make one mistake the salmon could die. We are excited to go back to Carkeek Park to release the salmon this spring. We are hopeful that some of our salmon spawn will be the salmon that the fourth graders get to observe next year!

How Māui Brought Fire to the World

By: Meridian 4th Graders

Our next drama performance (Wednesday, March 8) is “How Māui Brought Fire to the World.” The main character is Māui and he has a group of friends. They all want to know where fire comes from, so they put out all of the fires in their village to force the adults to tell them where to get it from. Then, they go on an adventure to find the goddess, Mahuika, who created fire.

We started drama class after winter break. It’s really fun to play a character from a different story and to feel the passion of that character. The directors are always nice and try and give you a part that you will like. They are a good judge of how you will do in each part, and sometimes they know (even better than you do!) what part fits you best. The first thing we did at rehearsal was read through the script several times. By reading through the lines, you start to get a better idea of the role you are playing.

Acting is about being assigned a character and adding your own personality. If the character is supposed to be mad, you have to add your own anger to make it more believable. Acting is really challenging because you have to understand the character and yourself really well in order to relate to the role you are playing. It’s really hard to balance yourself and your character.

We wish the rehearsals would continue, or that we could have more performances because we love drama! It makes us feel proud because the play becomes this real thing, and the process is challenging but rewarding. It’s something you have to work for and give your all.

We would recommend that people try being in a play because it’s a great opportunity to find what you’re passionate about, and is a really fun experience. Remember: you have to be bold to be a part of the play!

(The accompanying photos are from our fall drama production, “Tales of the South Island Seas”)