Saturday, August 29 , 2015, 7:05 am | Fair 67.0º




Students’ Talents, Creativity on Display at Santa Barbara Middle School Academic Fair

Santa Barbara Middle School students perform in a mock trail during the school’s Academic Fair this month.

Santa Barbara Middle School students perform in a mock trail during the school’s Academic Fair this month.  (Santa Barbara Middle School photo)

By Sue Carmody for Santa Barbara Middle School |

Santa Barbara Middle School’s interactive Academic Fair took place Feb. 11-12 on its campus, located at 1321 Alameda Padre Serra in Santa Barbara.

Tuesday evening showcased work from their Upper School students in eighth and ninth grades.

In the ninth-grade Conceptual Physics class, student engineering teams demonstrated their mathematically programmed and engineered robots, one of which was a piano-playing robot that uses an Arduino micro controller and electrical transistors on a breadboard to play music on a keyboard.

The eighth grade performed Murder a la Carte, a mock trial to determine the cause of death of notorious food critic “Simon Fogg,” who is found dead on his yacht after enjoying a sumptuous meal, possibly laced with poisonous mushrooms. The chief suspect, “Chef Kat Koo Kola,” was charged with first-degree murder, but found not guilty by the jury audience!

Visitors also witnessed a drum-playing robot that simultaneously uses several synchronized robots to play drums and a xylophone and a self-balancing robot, which uses a gyro sensor to balance itself on just two wheels, engineered like renowned Dennis Kamen’s Segway scooter.

A team of students from the eighth-grade Human Biology class demonstrated a CPR and first aid scenario. Visitors who wandered through the Algebra classes saw student-designed business plans, which require graphing and solving linear equations and inequalities to maximize profits and revenues, resulting in optimal business efficiency.

Theatrical performances of student-modified, humorous Spanish-speaking fairy tales and William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream were also on stage for guests to enjoy.

SBMS Academic Fair
Santa Barbara Middle School student Ami Hammond becomes the character Kira from Gathering Blue to tell the story of Lois Lowry's life. (Santa Barbara Middle School photo)

On Wednesday evening, the Lower School hosted their Academic Fair, which highlighted student academic work for sixth and seventh grades. Visitors toured the “Wax Museum” where well-known authors (student performers) such as Dr. Seuss, Rick Riordan and Robert Frost came to life and shared their personal histories.

The Santa Barbara Middle School’s Teen Press, a team of journalists, offered red carpet highlights of interviews they captured at the recent Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Martin Scorsese and Robert Redford were just a few that were shown.

Math portfolios were also on display, and Academic Fair visitors were able to interact with seventh-grade STEM science projects that deal with circuits and lasers. Visitors also took a student-guided tour through the sixth-grade “Wonder Museum” to see handmade woven baskets modeled after ancient civilizations, peruse prehistory scientific journals and literary works, and enjoy several art pieces and PowerPoint presentations.

In social studies, cultural multimedia stories were told through student blogs and a media tribute to Nelson Mandela. Visitors enjoyed a pop culture fashion show presented in an innovative style — all the narration along the SBMS catwalk was done in Spanish by the seventh-grade class.

Both evenings were filled with relevant and interactive academic projects designed to entertain, teach and celebrate the creative and clever mind of the middle school student.

— Sue Carmody is a community outreach coordinator for Santa Barbara Middle School.




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