Middle School Research Projects (by Mrs. Sally Brink)

For the larger part of the second quarter, St. Paul’s middle schoolers embarked on an important educational milestone at our school - the research report!  During research report season in ELA class, students work on individualized, cross-curricular projects to develop a more in depth understanding of an area of interest.  Students experience each facet of writing a research paper throughout this season: planning, researching, taking notes, using note cards and outlines, understanding proper MLA format and documentation, and much more!  While they participate in this process, they also learn important life skills, such as how to balance collaborative and individual work, how to evaluate gathered information, and how to record key details.  Additionally, they develop other important organizational, time management, and research skills that will benefit them for the future.

 Throughout the process of the research report, we instill in the students the importance of having a growth mindset.  We partner alongside parents on the mission to instill positive, hard-working attitudes in one another as we power through this important academic journey.  The students work diligently as we practice different growth mindset strategies as they are reminded that when we are challenged, brain growth happens!

This year, 6th grade research papers required students to select one ancient civilization from their 6th grade social studies curriculum and develop a paper covering important aspects of that society, including one important person and one important event or landmark.  7th grade research papers required students to research a country (other than America) and participate in different learning activities with that country in both social studies and ELA.  8th grade research papers required students to show an in-depth understanding of the Holocaust within a historical context, while also show-casing two research subtopics of choice, all relating to the Holocaust.  Students learned to use and analyze primary sources and selected one survivor’s testimony to also focus their research upon.  By actively engaging with this period in history, students were reminded that though we cannot change the past, we can shape the future.  

Research projects are an excellent way for students to become more independent, critical thinkers.  They allow students to grow important planning and reasoning skills, while helping them learn responsibility, time management, and decision-making strategies.  Research projects at St. Paul’s also specifically encourage students to broaden their cross-cultural and historical understanding and perspective.  Overall, our research report process at St. Paul’s ultimately supports our mission to cultivate leaders of tomorrow who will exemplify Discipleship, Engagement, Leadership, and Character in all settings.