MEXICO — Mountain Valley Middle School students showcased their projects on the Civil War, physics and career exploration Wednesday afternoon.

Quest is a “theme-based, hands-on learning approach” to help improve attendance and get students more excited about learning, math and social studies teacher Craig Milledge said.

“Each trimester, we’re having a group of students research one of three topics,” he said. “At the end of the trimester, the students create a project based around their topic and showcase it to the other students.”

Over the year, students will cover all three topics.

“If a student is in the Civil War section, then in math, they’ll learn about death tolls and population increases and decreases,” Milledge said. “If they’re in language arts, they’ll learn about Civil War narratives published around that time.”

Eighth-grader Faith Riddick said she enjoyed the process of constructing her project. She decided to study Newton’s First Law of Motion, which states that an object at rest or in motion will stay at rest or in motion, unless acted upon by an external force.

In order to demonstrate the law, she built a structure out of wood and a two-liter soda bottle. She poured water into the soda bottle, and the water pushed several BBs down a tube into a container of water.

Riddick said the structure was meant to imitate the way water slides at amusement parks work.

“A lot of my friends were doing their projects on other amusement park rides, so I decided to focus on water parks,” Riddick said. “My project shows the way Newton’s First Law of Motion is used at water parks.”

Eighth-grader Trent MacIsaac said that he and his classmates were interested in Civil War weaponry.

“You learn a lot from doing this program,” MacIsaac said. “We learned about Ketchum grenades, warships and different types of guns.”

Seventh-grader Abby Gauvin, who crafted a binder and brochure of information about abolitionist and humanitarian Harriet Tubman, said she enjoyed the Quest program because it “gave people a chance to see what we’re learning at school.”

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