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Exploring Burning Questions

In November, between the fall and winter sports seasons, 8th grade students launched explorations on their most burning questions:

  • Can I make a better yogurt, one that is exactly to my liking? 
  • Can I use my cultural heritage to create clothes? 
  • What can I learn about superbugs by creating antibiotic-resistant bacteria? 
  • How do I make a baseball bat? 
  • Can I design a new and improved Linc? 
  • How are kids in Philadelphia affected by the criminal justice system? 

The 8th grade capstone project, now in its third year, came out of the faculty’s desire to expand the space students have to make choices, explains Rachel Reynolds, 8th grade dean and English teacher. “The element of choice increases significantly in high school and this project helps pave the way.” 

Students also have the chance to share more about who they are with both their classmates and with adults. Teachers and subject matter experts from the broader GFS community are on hand to advise and support them, including an anesthesiologist, a baker, coding experts, and more this year. 

Simon Rodgers, ‘28, wants to know how he can use chemistry to make better yogurt. The self-described yogurt lover said, “I like cooking and developing my own recipes. It’s fun to take something I like a lot, take it apart and have full knowledge of it. Once I master it, I can make different kinds of yogurt.” 

“Our hope is to energize authentic engagement with learning and school as our students head into their high school years,” said Reynolds. 

Students will continue to work on their capstones through the year culminating in a Showcase for the entire community at the end of May. 

8th grade student talking with teacher



Student working on 8th grade capstone project

8th grade students began work on their Capstone Projects.