Tackling research topics that might make a dissertation, Iduma Elementary School fifth-graders presented culminating works during the school’s annual exhibition.

As a Primary Years Program International Baccalaureate campus, the exhibition is a required component as students finish their elementary years.

At Iduma, parents walked through the library, cafeteria and gym Tuesday evening to see the projects.

On Wednesday, younger students, school staff and community guests toured the exhibition.

Working in groups, 130 students pursued “lines of inquiry” regarding topics like child abuse, alcohol use, bullying, tattoos, littering and terrorism.

The topics tied into the trans-disciplinary theme “How we express ourselves.”

Each project included an action designed to address the issue.

“They chose real-life world issues they were passionate about,” said Gale Jones, program coordinator at Iduma.

Students chose three topics and campus staff organized groups to research the topics.

Since January, student groups conducted independent investigation methods to write an essay, form an action plan and piece together visual elements to present.

“It opens their eyes to issues happening all over the world, not just in Central Texas,” Jones said. “They learn that just one action can make a difference about what they are concerned about.”

One fifth-grade trio presented a project about bullying.

Their research showed 3.2 million students face bullying yearly and 160,000 teens skip school daily because of bullying.

Schoolyard bullies are “made and not born,” and some learn their aggression from their parents, students pointed out. Also, there are ways to handle bullying such as telling an adult or standing up to the bully.

“I think you should step up and be a leader and not follow the crowd,” said Dakahree Davis.

He and partners Mekiaylah Samuel and Audrey Orona said they hoped to present findings to local boys and girls clubs.

Fifth-graders James Bowyer and Lia Johnson researched the complexities of dance and music.

The artistic forms express culture, provide health benefits and unite emotions, but some lyrics are explicit and suggestive.

The pair quizzed students on music trivia and asked them to take part in an online survey to express their thoughts on dance and music.

“It’s hard because you have to find sources you can trust,” Bowyer said of the challenge of the exhibition project. “Some (websites) can be inaccurate because anyone can change them.”

Fifth-grade teacher Ronald Sursa said the exhibition project exposed students to academic skills typically considered beyond their years.

“They go through the whole research process like a college research paper,” Sursa said. The culminating project integrated all the skills and traits students learned through the year.”

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