The Advanced Authentic Research (AAR) Celebratory Showcase gave students the opportunity to showcase their dynamic projects to the Palo Alto community.
AAR piloted its program last year, but this year is its first year with University of California (UC) approval. The course is designed for students to work on year-long projects on topics which ranged from the achievement gap to idle energy consumption.
The AAR classes consist of a combination of Social Justice students and regular students who are interested in learning more in-depth aspects of a certain research topic.
Social Justice students are required to take this class because it helps them with their Capstone Project, which is their required research project and paper, due at the end of the year
All year long, AAR students diligently worked on their posters, which contain a cumulative compilation of the research and data they collect.
These posters show the most important aspects of the students’ projects such as their hypothesis and conclusion of their experiments.
Every student is required to gather data either through a pre-existing source or by conducting an experiment.
For example, a student might choose to study reading levels by giving a group of students a reading examination and correlating their score to their reading habits. This experiment is useful for students who want to see if reading levels are affected by certain factors.
If factors are identifiable, one can then proceed to take actions to ensure that their time reading is as effective as possible by minimizing those factors. Many AAR experiments were conducted with student participants through surveys or assessments.
The final poster contains organized data and some background information on the project.
This class is held during an eighth period either during lunch or after school once a week. During class time, teachers go over the necessary components for the AAR poster and guidelines for the showcase.
There are sometimes presentations onvarious topics, such as how to properly speak publicly through poster presentations, and the rest of the class time is spent working on journal entries or exit tickets.
The AAR showcase is the presentation of all of the students’ posters to parents, board members and other audience members.