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How student clubs make breakthroughs and grow passions

By Nick Yates, ISB Communications

With 2021-2022 underway, students at the International School of Beijing (ISB) are getting engaged in a range of co-curricular activities and running their own after-school clubs as they pursue their passions. Yesterday’s Clubs and Service Fair acted like a menu of such opportunities for new and returning High School students, with booths dedicated to all the clubs and service opportunities on offer.

Here’s the story of one particularly successful new High School club that students established last year.

One Saturday morning in May, eight High School students (pictured) gathered in an auditorium on campus to present research papers to a group of esteemed judges, all alumni of ISB. These impressive papers, the result of months of brainstorming, research, and analysis, ranged in topic from lab sciences to social sciences. Participants were able to demonstrate their knowledge of a chosen subject and further their understanding with the help of professional advisers.

The event concluded the first year of work for Research Symposium. The club was founded by May T and Dorothy D, both then in Grade 10, based on its mission to support young and committed innovators, encourage the exploration of their interests, and promote an academic research environment within ISB. It is a year-round club that nurtures and facilitates students’ research process leading up to the final presentation day.

The judges included Vikki Leung (Class of 2003, healthcare); Charlotte Kouo (Class of 2014, banking and law); Diana Yue (at ISB 2015-2017, accepted to Harvard). After a thorough discussion, the winner was announced to be Peter W’s and Haozhe L’s paper on the formation of salt crystals.

Below is an interview with Peter and Haozhe.

Q: Could you guys give a brief summary of your paper?

PW: Our paper is about how different materials affect the formation of salt crystals. We used the results to make a conclusion on a material that could best remove salt from agricultural fields.

HL: This is important because salinity results in immense profit loss and overall economic damage.

Q: What was the preparation process like?

PW: Our process heavily resembles that of the ISB design cycle. We identified an authentic real-life problem and then brainstormed testable solutions. Next, we designed a lab that would give valid and reliable results when we tested out solutions.

HL: After that, we analyzed the results to conclude the best solution and prepared for the presentation.

Q: Any reflections on the event?

HL: I was quite nervous. Other people definitely had better experiments than us. I was surprised we won! In hindsight, I learned a lot from the research process and was able to practice my presentation skills.

PW: The event has taught me to combine knowledge learned from different fields into one comprehensive overview of the experiment. This was my first time organizing my own research and I gained a lot of skills that will help me in the future.


Go to Research Symposium’s website, www.isbresearchsymposium.net, for Peter and Haozhe’s paper and papers by other members of the club. And to find out more about ISB’s exciting range of co-curricular activities, click here.

ISB is an extraordinary school, made so by a tradition of educational excellence spanning 40 years. Establishing, nurturing, and growing such an exceptional learning community has been and remains intentional; we work hard to build strong relationships so our learning is at its best.

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Experiential Learning Co-curriculars