SIRS Students Make New Experiments

By Hafsa Wahid

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The 8th period Stem Inquiry Research class gathers around a few tables in the STEM lab listening to the chemistry and SIRS teacher, JulieAnn Villa. Villa announces the new written assignment that is due soon, and then allows the students to begin their work. The students scatter around the room and start up their individual experiments. On the other side of the room students sit in desks in a circle, talking loudly.

Stem Inquiry Research, or SIRS, is the proper name for the class, which people sometimes to refer to as STEM, which is the lab the clas sis held within.

“Generally, everyone comes up with a topic they want  to explore and then they come up with an experiment they can do,” said sophomore Sana Khan while working on her experiment.

While working on her own experiment, junior Sheryl Cherian had some time to talk to me. Sitting on the computer and doing her work she said, “It [SIRS] is basically whatever you want it to be. It [the experiment] has to be related to science, but that’s very broad and open-ended.”

SIRS is not a typical biology or chemistry class where the teacher spoon-feeds experiment procedures. In SIRS, every student creates their own experiment and works on it.

As Villa was walking around the room, helping and discussing experiments with people, she said, ” You have to be independent and motivated. It [the class] is exciting and scary. Students choose their own projects, and [sometimes they] use techniques I don’t know.”

Projects in the SIRS class can be  about anything anyone is interested in. Senior Brinda Shah incorporated her passions into her projects.

“In my project I incorporated my love for sports. I really enjoyed I could do what I wanted. [This class] transforms you from a dependent student to an independent student,” said Shah.

While the students were researching their individual experiments, some students sat on the opposite side of the room working on their own mathematical experiments.

Villa and many other students in SIRS believe that if any student is interested in majoring in science they should take the SIRS class.

“I would encourage people who love science and are willing to take initiative to take this class,” said sophomore Estee Cramer.