Morgan Park Academy sixth-graders took center stage on March 8, presenting scientific research and innovative ideas in the style of TED Talks.

The essence of the project was to creatively present one’s research on one’s general topic, real world application, and innovative idea.

Students brainstormed ideas based on topics they had studied in class, including DNA, heredity, cell components, cellular respiration, photosynthesis, cell division, and more. From there, they researched ways that those topics are applied in the real world, and then created innovative ideas in which this knowledge could be applied in new and different ways.

“The ability to research and convey new findings is becoming more of a vital tool for scientists,” science teacher Jessica Stephens said. “This project teaches our students the vital importance of research, public speaking, the art of persuasion, and the much needed ability to see beyond what has already been created.

“The mind of a middle schooler is a gold mine for new innovative quests — if only given the opportunity to do so.”

Ideas ranged from curing type 1 diabetes to solving the colony collapses of bees, to even to reversing the effects of marijuana exposure to unborn children.

For example, two students chose photosynthesis as their general topic and researched how photosynthesis affects the rate in which indoor plants grow in the real world. From there, these two girls brainstormed a better way to utilize photosynthesis by creating a window that acts as both a mirror and window in order to deflect the sun’s rays more efficiently so that indoor plants can grow more rapidly.

Another duo chose DNA as their topic and then researched the effects of marijuana on a mother’s unborn child. They then invented a way to more efficiently detox a mother’s body from the harmful effects of marijuana.