SJA Jeju 8th Graders Space Missions!

Eighth graders at St. Johnsbury Academy Jeju (SJA Jeju) were given a chance to apply their scientific knowledge to space missions through the SJAAA Project. The SJAAA, or the St. Johnsbury Academy Jeju Astronomy Association, is made up of eighth grade SJA Jeju students. This project was the first of its kind ever held at SJA Jeju, and the participating students were divided into 19 teams. Each team selected special locations in the solar system, such as Titan, Mars, Europa, and the asteroid belt. They then researched missions they could undertake at their chosen locations and applied what they had learned in their science classes to come up with a variety of ideas and write up research reports.

This project was a particularly significant school contest in that it required a combination of knowledge from both science and English classes. In preparation for the project, the students learned about the solar system and engineering in their science classes, while also developing research skills and ways to effectively interpret the text in their English classes. They also wrote persuasive essays to effectively express their opinions and improve their speaking skills for giving presentations in front of large crowds. 

On November 13, 2019, the final presentation for the SJAAA Project was held at SJA Jeju Mini PAC to choose a winner. Of the 19 teams that participated in the project, only four were given a chance to present their ideas, selected by their classmates based on the scientific viability of the mission idea as well as the impact of the persuasive language use within the presentation.

The students gave their presentations in front of 80 students and freely discussed their ideas with the audience. To select the best of the mission to represent the SJAAA, the audience members focused on the presentations, listening carefully and asking important questions. The winning mission to explore our Solar System's asteroid belt in order to learn more about the Big Bang was created and presented by SoYoung Choi, ChanHee Jung, and BingCheng Li.

"The students were able to learn through an inquiry-based project," said David Wisnieski, a middle school science teacher who was in charge of the project. "By letting the students ask questions, do research, and look for solutions, the project gave them an opportunity to discuss ways of applying their scientific knowledge to carry out their space missions."

"I appreciated the quantity and quality of interpersonal academic language use throughout the project," said Kent Dwyer, the English as an Additional Language specialist who helped design and implement the unit of study. "Students were able to use collaborative speech in order to build off of one another's ideas, and they demonstrated truly critical analysis of the science embedded in the missions. Within the structure of the project design, students were able to question, provide specific feedback, and generate collective understanding through their language use."

  • competition
  • contest
  • international school
  • presentation
  • sja jeju
  • space mission
  • st. johnsbury academy jeju