Mrs. Bell’s Biology Honors Presentation

2 mins read

By Sloane Walsh ’25

Picture it, 1000 years in the future. Earth is a wasteland, and humans have gone to the Proxima Centaurians for help, but for the Proxima Centaurians to help the humans, they have to learn what they need to survive. So earth’s finest scientists put together an interactive and educational presentation about the Characteristics of Life. Mrs. Bell, one of the science department’s valued biology teachers, uses this project to help her students learn about life’s characteristics and become comfortable doing in-class presentations. To learn more about this project, I interviewed Mrs. Bell, the organizer of this presentation, and students from her two Biology Honors classes. 

First, I asked Mrs. Bell some questions about this project and why she does it every year. Mrs. Bell has been doing this project since she designed it in grad school in 2018. She likes to do this project because it helps students learn about her teaching style and get comfortable with problem-based learning. 

“It introduces my students to the way I teach problem based learning and critical skills. I think it is less scary than doing a huge biology project as the first presentation of the year and it’s easier to practice a model scenario. It’s not as large as a huge real world problem, you get to have fun with it and work with a silly story. I like that a lot of faculty get to see the students’ hard work on their projects and be a part of it.”

Mrs. Bell said she has seen some very creative takes on this project. In her first year teaching it, students made a tabletop ecosystem using beans and other materials to display natural selection. Certain animals would camouflage, and viewers had to find them in a set amount of time. Mrs. Bell admired some students in her B block class who used what they learned in Earth and Physical science to make an electronic quiz board that matched questions to their answers. 

Next, I interviewed students participating in this project and asked about what they learned and what made it difficult. Lucy Karp ‘25 from Mrs. Bell’s B block class learned about the two types of cells, eukaryotic and prokaryotic. Lucy enjoyed seeing classmate Grace Harlow’s project because it was both engaging and interactive. 

Gordon Bennett, ‘24, from Mrs. Bell’s A block class, admired Mairin Hoffman and Matis’ creativity with the video they involved with their project. He had fun collaborating with his partner Logan Crompton and was amazed to learn how big of a role metabolism plays in the body.

Kate Richards ‘25 described how it was a little different for her to work on this project because she didn’t have a partner and many other people in the class did. She had the topic of homeostasis and learned about how the body produces insulin and glucose to maintain homeostasis. Kate liked Olivia Kurtz and Ryan Ryu’s presentation because of how well together their project was. 

“I also liked Sloane Walsh’s board game and Stella Leonard’s posters. I liked this project, but I think it was hard to make the project interactive. Drawing a baby, babies are hard to draw.”

Word around campus is that both these classes did a great job with their presentations, and visitors learned something new about the earth. So next time you hear from a friend that Mrs. Bell’s class is doing a project, make sure to check it out. A Biology project can never fail when Mrs. Bell manages it.

Photo curtsey The Frederick Gunn School Instagram

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