Three Cheers for Trees!

E25 have started their final expedition of Year 7 which is entitled ‘Three Cheers for Trees!’

At the end of immersion week, students were introduced to the name of the expedition and the guiding question: ‘Who Speaks for the Trees?’

7 Explorer started to investigate the geographical context of the expedition further today in HUMAN when they considered the world’s different climate zones and where the Amazon Rainforest is located.

Zooming in even further, students looked carefully at and analysed climate graphs and then constructed their own rainfall and temperate graphs to show the climate of a tropical rainforest.

It’s fair to say that the craftsmanship and quality of students’ work today was excellent!

In our STEAM lessons this week, Year 7 have been grappling with the concept of speed, distance and time.  We have been using constructivist principles of learning to develop understanding, by kicking the week off with a practical investigation outside, measuring the time and distance travelled when we walk fast or slow.

We then discussed the relationships we could see in our data and some data generated from the ‘Marbleympics’ 5m sprint.  We noticed that when the speed changes, the time and/or distance change and there is a direct relationship between this; ultimately we deduced the equation:

In today’s session Explorer were applying this by substituting our own data, with the challenge being to use the equation in unfamiliar contexts – check out Faith’s attempt at four of the challenge questions on the photos below!  The level of engagement in this task was excellent, and not only did I have a lot of verbal praise to give individuals, as well as the class as a whole, but we also had a spontaneous round of applause!  Zak was using purple pen to remind himself of how to improve his calculations next time, and Caiden and Sami got their heads together to see where they went wrong in their calculations and correct them.

We also tried out some new more flexible seating arrangements to support us in building our confidence; as we experiment we find we have different skills and qualities to offer one another in our problem solving and all students engaged really positively in the process.  I loved Marshall’s quote, particularly as he had rated his confidence at the beginning of the lesson as a 1 out of 3, but at the end of the lesson he said “this is a breeze now!”

Our learning focus this week has been to keep trying to get ‘unstuck’, even when we are grappling with something new or a concept we can’t quite get our head around; at XP East it’s all about getting to the top of the next ‘mountain’.  That’s why we have a new quote on the wall from Carl Sagan:

When you make the finding yourself, even if you’re the last person on Earth to see the light, you’ll never forget it“.

Yesterday during community meeting Mrs Poncia asked X25 about their highlight of the week, and I amongst other members of my crew struggled to pick! We have just six weeks left of this academic year, it is wild to think how quickly my crew’s first year at high school has passed and how much we’ve crammed into 2018-2019.

Both staff and students are winding up to the grand finale of the STEAM and Human expeditions, where they will be working on final products and preparing to share their learning in a presentation of learning. In STEAM, they are continuing on with ‘Escape Earth’ and yesterday their new Human expedition was announced.

On Tuesday X25 visited the Jodrell Bank Space Observatory, which is home to the UK’s largest radio telescope and the 3rd largest in Europe! Each student was immersed in workshops and classes that allowed them to discover elements of our universe, experience Newton’s Laws, and watch real accounts of the astronauts that visit the Space Station. I’ve uploaded the video file above, check out the incredible resources and facilities that we had access to!

We will be taking the lessons we learned from the specialists back into school to help answer the expeditions guiding question:

“Should humans leave Earth?”

With growing reports of the danger that climate change poses, and the scientific advancements in the technology that could allow us to potentially re-locate our species to another planet, X25 will be concluding what they think the future for our species and our home will be. I can’t wait to hear their responses.

I chose the backing track for the video from an album I really love by a band called Public Service Broadcasting, I was struck by this line that was originally part of a JFK speech from 1962:

We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things
Not because they are easy, but because they are hard”

I’m taking this particular message back to crew this week. We will be encountering difficulty over the next six weeks with deadlines. We will be setting up Student Led Conferences over the coming weeks, to reflect on and review this years work. We will be finalising products and developing our presentations of learning. It may be the last few weeks, but as per every other day we spend at XP East, I hope that each of my 12 crew members recognises that despite this work being hard, it is also extremely important, and that working hard, getting smart and being kind is fundamental if we are to achieve.

7 Pioneer Immersion Extended Study

As part of Immersion Week for the new HUMAN expedition, 7 Pioneer took part in a gallery walk using the silent conversation protocol. One of the images used is below. Students made notices, wonders and questions about this image and how it linked to the other images on display. We then discussed how these everyday items all include an ingredient called palm oil and the impacts of this. In order to develop this learning further and make links to the expedition in more detail, 7 Pioneer have been set Extended Study.

Image result for palm oil products uk

7 Pioneer’s Extended Study is to make a list of as many products in their homes which contain palm oil – these items range from food, cosmetics/toiletries and cleaning products. Students need to write down the brand name and the type of item it is, for example, Cadbury’s DairyMilk chocolate. 

The list can be either hand written or typed. It is due Monday 10th June.  

By the end of the week, students will have revealed the expedition themes, anchor text and guiding question. In the meantime, keep using the clues to work it out Pioneer!

E24 (Y8) Fieldwork: 7th June 2019

E24 students will be out on fieldwork on Friday 7th June, 7.45am-4pm.

As this is an immersion activity, the location will be kept secret until the day, when we will also reveal the Guiding Question for our new expedition (can you believe it’s the last one of the current school year?!)

Please take note of the details below:

Students need to arrive at school no later than 7.45am, to ensure prompt departure at 8am.

  • Students will need to bring a packed lunch and bottle of water (no glass bottles, fizzy drinks or sweets.)  A packed lunch will be provided for those students receiving free school meals.
  • Please bring any prescribed medication required, clearly labelled in a plastic bag or envelope with your child’s name and required dosage.  This includes travel sickness tablets where necessary as we will be travelling via coach for approximately 1.5 hours.
  • Sensible clothing, coat and shoes need to be worn (we will be outside for most of the day.) Sandals/sliders/open toe shoes are not permitted, but trainers are fine.
  • I know we can’t predict the weather but if sunshine is forecast, please make sure your child has sunscreen and sunhat. Or, if it’s forecast rain, please send them with an appropriate waterproof jacket (with a hood) and suitable footwear.

We will arrive back at school at 4pm.  However, this is dependant on traffic so we’ll keep you updated via social media.

If you have any questions about the fieldwork, please contact your child’s Crew Leader or email abrown@xpeast.org

ADVANCE NOTICE:

E25 (Y7) students are in the middle of their current expedition, Escape Earth, exploring the guiding question: “Should humans leave Earth?”

Over the course of three case studies, they will have studied Earth’s ‘postcode’ and position in the universe; the impact humans are having on the Earth today and the physics behind building and launching a rocket to leave Earth.  They will be ready to share their learning with you on the following dates:

7 Pioneer: Wednesday 10th July, 5:30-6:30pm.

7 Explorer: Thursday 11th July, 5:30pm-6:30pm.

We look forward to seeing you and thank you for your continued support.

E24 (Y8) students have spent the last two terms exploring if we are truly responsible for our own thoughts and deeds as part of their HUMS expedition, ‘Making Your Mind Up.’

Over the course of three case studies, they have studied Macbeth, looked at Hitler’s rise to power, analysed modern media and are now ready to share their learning with you on the following dates:

8 Explorer: Wednesday 5th June, 5pm-6pm.

8 Pioneer: Thursday 6th June, 5pm-6pm.

We look forward to seeing you, and thank you for your continued support.

E25 will be on fieldwork on Tuesday 4th June. 

Please make arrangements for your child to arrive at school no later than 7:45am and be collected around 5pm.  

The fieldwork arrangements are as follows:

  • All students to arrive at school by 7:45am for a prompt departure at 8am.
  • Students will need to bring a packed lunch and bottle of water (no glass bottles or fizzy drinks or sweets.)
  • Please bring any prescribed medication required, clearly labelled in a plastic bag or envelope with your child’s name and required dosage.  This includes travel sickness tablets where necessary as we will be travelling via coach for approximately 2 hours.
  • Sensible clothing, coat and shoes need to be worn (we will be outside for part of the day)
  • Students will return to school at approximately 5pm – although we will post updates on the website and social media.
  • If any parents would like to know the destination of our fieldwork or have any questions, please contact me at jtownson@xpeast.org

Many thanks for your support.