The 8-year-old was among 55 students in Nikki Logan's second-grade Challenge classes who recently completed an independent research project. They spent four weeks on the project and were charged with selecting a topic, researching it, organizing their information, creating a product and making a presentation.
Students were free to choose any topic on any subject, leading Meri Alan to go for something that had always interested her.
"I did rainbows because it was science, and I thought it would be fun to do my project on rainbows because I could make my board colorful," she said.
This is the second year, Logan has assigned this project, which is designed to teach several skills required by the new Common Core curriculum, such as an emphasis on non-fiction, technology and speaking and listening skills.
It is also intended to coincide with the Culmination Projects completed by Tupelo High School seniors. In fact, Logan's students will take a field trip to the BancorpSouth Arena today to view the senior projects on display there.
"When they go down there, they think our projects look like theirs," Logan said. "My ultimate goal is that they are not overwhelmed when they become seniors, and they know the steps to the research process."
Several of her students said they were excited about the trip.
"I hope to see the seniors and how they use their skills and what they do in school," said Kaden White, 8, whose project is about Hawaii.
While visiting Culmination Day, the Joyner students will be required to find projects similar to theirs and ask the seniors about their work and processes.
One of Logan's students, Meri Weller Hutson, has a project closely aligned with that of her cousin, senior Sadler Sanders. Both chose a topic connected to Alzheimer's to honor their grandfather, Dr. Johnny Sanders, who is battling the disease.
Meri Weller, 8, researched the disease and made a PowerPoint and poster board about it. During her presentation, she spoke about her early childhood memories with her grandfather and how he began to change when he was diagnosed with the disease about four years ago.
"I really loved doing this project because it involved my grandfather," she said, noting her cousin helped her find some of her facts.
Meanwhile, classmate Precious Witherspoon, 8, said she chose to focus on sharks because she didn't think her peers knew much about them.
"My favorite part was learning about Hammerhead sharks because they look different than other sharks," she said.
Camden Petrie, 7, chose to study Pokemon because "it is pretty interesting."
He particularly enjoyed doing the artwork to decorate his poster.
"My favorite part was drawing the pictures," he said. "It is one of my talents, but sometimes it can be very hard."
Kaden, whose project was Hawaii, said he learned the island was more than just beaches, but that it also has cities.
"It is a fun place," he said. "Some people like to go there. It is a place where you go to have fun."
Meri Alan said her project taught her how rainbows are formed and where to find them. Her favorite part was getting a chance to make a sparkly poster board.
She also enjoyed the chance to feel like a senior.
"I'm really excited," she said. "This is my first year in Challenge, and we get to do something that is a mini version of what the seniors are doing."