The Similkameen Elementary Secondary School biology and social studies classes took part in an inquiry project in place of a final exam. The students got to choose their own topics, and spent nearly four weeks researching and making posters. It all led up to a final open house style event where students were quizzed by their peers and members of the community on their chosen topics.
“I think we should be really proud of the work our students are doing,” said Cameron Adam, SESS biology teacher. “We should give that academic success equal value and emphasis as we do on our sports teams and arts, so it was really nice to celebrate the academic success.”
Many participating students enjoyed having an inquiry project in place of a final exam.
“I preferred doing the project instead of the final exam because it wasn’t as stressful and i got to pick my own topic.” says Jessie Turcotte, a Grade 11 student whose chosen topic was alternative energy sources. “I think most of us spent around 50-60 hours brainstorming, researching and making displays, so the work was still there, but it’s less stressful to present your knowledge creatively as opposed to being tested on it. Overall, it was a pretty chill experience.”
On average, students produced work that was higher than their class average.
“They exceeded my expectations in terms of quality and professionalism of their final products,” said Adam, “From the perspective of a teacher, I see students being engaged in class, managing their time well.”
The event was a success, and the school is hopeful it will happen again next year.
Naomi Antler is a student SESS who has an interest in media and submits articles about the happenings around the school.