“It’s a celebration of learning,” Assistant Head of School Libby Cowles said. “It’s the culminating exhibit for all grades and all academic disciplines, and it’s a great chance to see what project-based learning looks like.”
Students will present their accomplishments through a wide variety of interactive events, including a poetry slam, a Socratic seminar, an Oxford-style debate, artwork and mural displays, cooking demonstrations with taste tests, story readings, dance lessons, senior projects and more.
The event will culminate with a student-run talent show featuring several acts including spoken word, classical piano and freestyle rap, said Ashley Hein, director of development for the school.
Some of the exhibitions have been months in the making.
“As soon as we got back from Christmas break, we were learning trigonometry,” said freshman Alma Wolf, 15, about her pre-calculus class. “After spring break, we started brainstorming how to demonstrate what we had learned.”
People who attend their exhibition will find themselves in the Sine City Cosino (from cosine), learning how to count cards and determine the probabilities of getting a certain card or certain hand in Texas Hold ’em.
“We painted the walls of our teacher’s room red and added a bunch of tacky casino art,” Alma said. “Along with two other people, we’ll be presenting to two tables, and we’re expected to show our knowledge that way.”
While math is one of the few classes at Animas High where tests are given so students can show they have learned concepts, applying the math allows students to show mastery of those concepts.
“I guess the thing that most surprised me was the unlikelihood of getting so many of those hands like flushes and straights,” Alma said. “The odds of getting a royal flush are like 1 in 649,000. I’ve gotten a royal flush, and I just didn’t realize how uncommon that was.”
Junior Geoffrey Stiner, 17, will be involved in two different exhibitions, the unveiling of a two-panel mural in his Spanish 4 class and a cooking/tasting demonstration for his chemistry class.
At the end of March, while juniors were on their LINK internships, their Spanish teacher left Animas High, leaving them struggling because they couldn’t say goodbye.
“Our new teacher, Sarita (Sarah Sánchez Armstrong), helped us make a mural about la Guerra Sucia (the Dirty War) in Argentina,” he said, “and los desaparecidos (the disappeared), to explore that feeling.”
The mural, which will be unveiled at the exhibition, features pictures of the disappeared, the sun of the Argentinian flag, and La Escuela de Mecánica de la Armada (Navy Petty-Officers School of Mechanics), the “epicenter” of torture during the dirty war, Geoffrey said.
The chemistry lesson has been both interesting and tasty, he said.
“Everyone had to find a food they like to cook and find ways to make it better as measured by both qualitative and quantitative data,” Geoffrey said. “Someone chose brownies, of course, and wanted to see what would happen by adding a couple more eggs to the mix. It made them measurably moister.”
Geoffrey worked with bread, making the same recipe with three different flours and measuring several things, including the consistency of both the dough and the baked bread and the differences in rising time.
“We also studied bacon and the Maillard reaction, which takes a saccharide and an amino acid and turns them into a nice smelling piece of bacon,” he said about the addition of heat that changes both the color and flavor of some foods. “It’s the same reaction that happens when you bake bread or make toast.”
No cooking demonstration would be complete without taste tests, and those who attend will not only get to taste, they’ll get some scientific guidance on what they should be looking for in their tasting, he said.
“Science, especially science, is fun,” Geoffrey said about the study, “and there’s so much more than meets the eye.”
The Animas High School All-School Exhibition will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the school, 20090 U.S. Highway 160 at the base of Twin Buttes. Limited parking will be available at the school, so attendees are asked to park in the lower lots and take the nature trail along Lightner Creek to the campus. The event is free.