I-Search is a year-long, independent study that meets many state standards across all subjects. Teachers guide students to select a topic, conduct research, write a biography of an expert in the field, complete 15 hours of fieldwork and a professional interview, and finally present information in about 45 minutes to community members, complete with a mini-lesson and visual display highlighting what he or she learned. Not only does the project help learners discover and hone their learning styles, they develop the capacity for reflecting, thinking, and acting. Middle school is the perfect time to begin to try out new identities. A student just might learn he is a piano playing goat farmer who might study law one day. Another discovers she’s a YouTuber with a passion for beekeeping and welding. This is what school is for!

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