Students in Teri Alvarez-Ziegler's honors biology class at Sunnyside High School are competent and willing to meet the challenges she places before them.
The students were recently assigned to complete projects focusing on photosynthesis, respiration or nutrition and they met the challenge, according to the teacher.
Alvarez-Ziegler called the project TAZ Fair, the acronym being her initials, and each of the students in the class presented their individual projects on a project board just as they would in a science fair.
"I wanted this to be a precursor to the local science fair," said Alvarez-Ziegler, stating her hope was the students would feel confident enough about their individual projects to enter them into the science fair.
This is the first year she has had her students complete projects like those exhibited during the TAZ Fair, but the teacher said the students exceeded her expectations.
The projects, she said, included a log, a folder containing 15 references for the work and a report. The project board displayed photos, a hypothesis, an introduction, graphs or charts, an analysis of the work and a conclusion.
"Honors students should be able to complete a rigorous, in-depth assignment and the projects are very complex," said Alvarez-Ziegler.
Approximately one-third of the class will be entering their projects in the local science fair after having competed in the TAZ Fair.
Alvarez-Ziegler explained more projects were good enough for the science fair, but many of the students have other obligations, "...which is understandable."
The projects were judged by staff members and Amanda Villarreal earned top honors with her project involving lavender oil. She explored the oil's effectiveness as a natural herbicide at different concentrations.
"Amanda purchased lavender oil and made five dilutions. She applied the dilutions to radish seeds over a seven-day period," Alvarez-Ziegler explained.
Cynthia Van Wingerden earned first place honors, and Audrie Perez and Mariah Gonzalez shared second place honors. Third place honors were awarded to Fernanda Arias, Sonia Madrigal and Vanessa Chavez.
"This was a fun thing to do in lieu of standing before the class and giving a presentation...it required a lot of work," Alvarez-Ziegler said with pride in her voice over her students' success.