Eighth grade students inquired into Panama's rich history, exploring topics ranging from the architecture of indigenous communities to the separation of Panama from Colombia. These projects were completed under the direction of eighth grade Social Studies teacher Mr. Galbally and Panamanian Studies teacher Mrs. Rovi.
In undertaking this research students developed investigative and presentation skills. In addition, their work - which took the full semester to complete - allowed them to practice self-directed learning and sustained independent inquiry. Both of these will be essential for success in high school at ISP, such as on the IB Extended Essay, and beyond into university studies.
Eighth grade student Sahil D. - whose research explored Captain Henry Morgan's attack on Panama - reflected on the experience: "I was interested in how Panama Viejo's history came about. It was challenging to do a project over a long period of time, but pacing myself throughout helped to make it less stressful."
Olivier R. - who weighed the benefits and drawbacks of the Spanish arrival on the Isthmus - added: "I learned to see both the pros and the cons of things that happened in history. At the beginning it was stressful to know we had to complete a large project, but by the end I was prepared to make my presentation."
Lastly, Maria G. shared her reflections on the work she did regarding Panama's independence from Spain. "Making a project like this is hard because there are lots of parts you have to put together. I learned to prioritize what was most important at each stage. For example, after I felt comfortable with the amount of research I had I was able to feel fully prepared to do the writing. It was fun because we had lots of independence. We chose our topics and made things the way that we wanted them to be."
The eighth grade team would also like to thank our invited guests from elementary and high school who provided thoughtful questions and a great audience. We look forward to presenting our second round of interdisciplinary projects in the second semester!