We know learners thrive when they have the freedom to explore knowledge outside of the classroom; that learning is most effective when students are empowered with autonomy and engaged by interests and passions interwoven into content spanning discipline and field.
Inspiring students to learn outside the four walls of their classroom and the parameters of a singular subject drives the pedagogy at BASIS Independent Fremont. One of our student’s most beloved examples of this methodology in practice is the tradition of Term Projects Week at our Lower and Upper School campuses. This year, we sat down with our Bumblebees and Yellow Jackets to hear all about their favorite memories and most significant takeaways from our 21-22 Term Project Week.
Every BASIS Independent Fremont student knows the last week of school means Term Projects! Throughout the entire school year, our students look forward to that special week they spend grouped together with their Term Project Teachers and project cohorts, exploring academic challenges, creative endeavors, cultural studies, athletic camps, culinary programs, and any other interest our endlessly imaginative students can dream up. Some projects are classroom-based, others have the students out and about, and some are a mix of the two.
This year we had projects ranging from Fremont Nature Sightseeing; Healing, Self-Expression, and Memory through Poetry; International Film and Food Festival; Making Myth: Reception of Global Mythology; Adventures in Space; Art in the Park; Global Celebrations; Lights, Camera, Action; Mad Scientists; and The Secret Lab.
Here’s what our students had to share about their week, diving into new studies, new fields, and adventures.
Ahana, Grade 5
Project: Lights, Camera, Action!: The Science of Photography & Film
“I really like photography and was attracted to this project because of the opportunity to take pictures. We made a scrapbook using polaroid pictures we took all around school and created a music video. Our theme was happiness and having fun. There are three mean teachers who see us being wild and try to get us to stop, but in the end, they can't help but join us.
I learned all about how to film and edit videos and about the science behind lighting. I liked making our video because we all had our own ideas, and we worked together to figure out how to put all of our ideas together into it and implement our plans. It's a fun way to say goodbye before graduating to middle school.”
Project: Mad Scientists
“I love science! We made slime and did a skittle rainbow experiment! Making slime was the best because it's so squishy and slimy, and you can make anything, I made a ball. I found fossils! I learned you can't use your hands or shovels to get fossils. You need to use a brush!”
Angad, Grade 4
Project: Secret Lab
“I picked Secret Lab for my Term Project because the name sounded really cool. We're making an escape room about mad scientists. There's a mad scientist trying to take over the world. We have to solve a bunch of clues to release the antidote to this virus he is going to unleash. Setting up the traps and puzzles has been really fun. It required a lot of brainstorming as a group, and we had to work together as a team.”
Krish, Grade 7
Project: Fremont Nature Sightseeing
“I wanted to be able to go outdoors and see nature. I like hiking on my own time, so it was a good fit. We've been going to different parks and trails every day to see a variety of the plants and animals in our area. It was a bit hot so walking for four hours took a lot of effort, but it was worth it and was a great exercise. I really liked term projects because we get more freedom. We have choices, and we get to explore what we're into.”
Beyond our teacher-led offerings, students can participate in Independent Projects of their own creation. With the guidance of our Deans and teachers, many of the most popular projects this past year were created by our inspiring students.
Samuel, Grade 10
Independent Project: Origami Masterpiece
“I've been doing this for a while now, and all my previous projects have been rather small, so I thought this was a perfect opportunity to do something on a larger scale. I showed my friend my collection, and he was excited to try and team up. Over this project, I learned that persistence is hard. Each and every petal takes about 5-6 pieces of paper. It's been an exercise in teamwork, planning, and collaboration.”
Julee, Grade 9
Independent Project: KQED Personal Narrative
“We're writing a 375-word perspective piece about lessons or things that have happened to you or impacted you greatly. I thought it would be a great project to talk about something significant in our lives and how it's shaped us.
I chose to write about procrastination. It resonates deeply with me. It's usually seen as something that is bad, but I'm exploring how it can sometimes be a coping mechanism for something that happened in your life. Sometimes trauma makes it hard to concentrate. You can't force your way through it, you have to accept yourself. During this project, I explored myself deeper, I had to take a deep look at myself.
It's exciting to be able to direct our own studies and is a good way to bond with people who are in your project before leaving for the summer.”
Three of the BASIS Independent Fremont students who participated in this Term Project were featured in KQED’s Youth Media Challenge Showcase.
Rohan, Grade 9
Independent Project: Pop-Culture
“I chose pop culture because I wanted to spend time with my grade 9 classmates, and we specially designed the project to be for grade 9 students.
A few of our classmates had the idea and created a plan based on what they thought would be in most popular demand. Throughout the week, we voted on which activities we selected. We did karaoke, we had water balloon fights, we went to Starbucks, watched a movie, ate ice cream, and played popular games together, we went for walks, and overall had a great time.
It was a really nice way to bond and hang out before leaving for the summer. I think being around your classmates in more than just academic settings is really important. It's great to be able to get to know someone deeper, beyond just ‘this guy is good at math.’
My favorite part was going on walks with friends around our complex and talking about grade 9 memories. The time capsule was amazing. I helped to dig the hole, and we filled our box with pictures, signatures, and letters. We are going to dig it up before graduation in 2025! I'm excited to see our pictures again.
Term Projects are a good opportunity to explore new things, express ourselves in new ways like art, sports, and even socialize. It's amazing that BIF gives us this opportunity with our classmates outside of a study setting.”
Term Project Week gives students across all grade levels the opportunity to work with their peers on multidisciplinary projects and to engage in fun activities and trips to explore the wonder-filled world around them. These projects challenge our students to be cooperative learners and to function as a team, explore new passions and interests, connect with classmates and teachers in unexpected ways, grow more as an individual, and hopefully, help find what drives them forward in this world; because as Plutarch once said, “The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be ignited.”
BASIS Independent Fremont is a grades TK-12 private school based in Fremont, California, providing students an internationally benchmarked liberal arts and sciences curriculum. Considering joining the BASIS Independent Fremont community? Join our interest list by clicking here to receive admissions updates for Fall 2022.