On Tuesday the 7th grade hosted eight guest speakers, each addressing a specific seed of change – something that changed the course of history. Students have been focusing their research one the following seeds: the potato, infectious disease, corn, and the horse.
Alumni parent Sally McCabe, an educator at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, led a discussion about the biology and history of the potato. TPS kindergarten assistant teacher and gardener Brian Jordan presented on corn cultivation and the politics surrounding corn subsidies. Adrian Galbraith-Paul, operations manager at Heritage Farm, spoke on urban farming.
Dentist Eric Cantor, a TPS parent, spoke about the effects of sugar on health. Compelling props were a soda bottle - and a container holding the 13 teaspoons of sugar found in the bottle.
Jeff Gerber, TPS parent and CHOP pediatrician and infectious disease researcher, discussed the differences between viruses and bacteria, focusing on the use of antibiotics and the development of "superbugs." TPS alumna Megan Lundy '04, a medical student at Jefferson University, also spoke about infectious diseases; Megan explained, using sibling dynamics as a metaphor, how the flu virus changes from year to year.
Alex Manwarren, an educator from the Pegasus Riding Academy, led a discussion about therapeutic riding for individuals with disabilities. Ryan Kuck, founder and director of Preston’s Paradise Farms, spoke about biodiesel and alternative fuels.
Our guest speakers were not the only ones to bring information and insight to the symposium. Our 7th graders were all well prepared and eager to discuss the issues on both a micro and macro scale.