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.

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.

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.

During our current STEAM expedition E25 were fortunate to meet three students from Tapton School in Sheffield who have built their own satellite!  Emily, Emma and Sam visited us as experts for Case Study 1 of our Escape Earth expedition, as we have been looking at the structure of the universe, galaxies and our solar system.

In addition to their A Level studies at Tapton, our experts have taken part in a six month engineering project, run under the Engineering Education Scheme (EES) run by EDT and supported by an electronics company called ARM.  They were given a microprocessor and a £200 budget, which they decided to use to build and program a small satellite.  They had strict parameters to fit within and had to create something which would be viable in space.  This took a great deal of planning, problem solving and research, as well as using Computer Aided Design (CAD) software, using a 3D printer for 19 hours during their residential at Sheffield Hallam University and showcasing their work at a Science Fair to industry experts.  

E25 are well into Case Study 1 of our new STEAM expedition Escape Earth now and we are already looking ahead to our next fieldwork activity.  This will be 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 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.

Should humans leave Earth?

This is the guiding question E25 students will be pondering for the next 14 weeks as we embark on our new STEAM expedition, Escape Earth.

We are just coming to the end of our immersion activities, which included:

  • a visit to the Diamond Building at the University of Sheffield, boasting cutting edge physics facilities, as well as giving us the opportunity to take part in higher education access workshops and a tour of the university campus;
  • a Notice and Wonder Gallery Walk activity in a circle around a large cardboard geodesic dome (hinting at part of the final product!);
  • watching our Anchor Text DVD: The 11th Hour, which documents the impact humans are having on the earth’s climate and the changes we need to make if we are to save the human race from extinction;
  • an expert visit from astrophotographer Chris Peace, who took us on a journey through space and time, showcasing his spectacular images of deep space objects.

Our first case study, Our Place in the Universe, is just the beginning.  Make sure to ask one of our students what they think so far!

Please do check out our expedition website and watch it grow and develop as we move through the expedition.

This term, E25 are learning about nutrition in one of their three X Block sessions each week.  We have looked at what constitutes a balanced diet, discussed the components of the Eatwell Guide and the nutrients present in different foods.

Image result for eatwell guide

This week, students have been working in pairs or groups of three to plan how they will cook a plate of food which meets requirements of their choosing; for example, a vegetarian starter, a healthy dessert or a free-from main course.  

Each group have a meal planner document which will be signed off by me on Google Docs before they can cook.  These MUST be completed before the session, otherwise they will not be able to cook.

The meals will be cooked in their normal X Block session with me on either Monday or Thursday morning.  

Your child will have been allocated responsibility within their group to provide certain ingredients of their choosing.  Please could you support them in ensuring that these are purchased in good time so they can bring them into school on either Monday or Thursday for their X Block session (they know which groups they are in and which day they are cooking on).

If you would like to contact me to discuss arrangements for your son or daughter, please contact me at school by phone or by email on jtownson@xpeast.org

Thanks in advance for your support.

Wow!  Well done E25! 

The STEAM Human Machine Presentations of Learning last week were a huge success and all students should be congratulated for the part they played, which began right back in January at the beginning of the expedition.  We want to take this opportunity to thank Jon Kelly at Sine FM for working with us closely on the Final Product, Emma Parke from Diabetes UK for being an expert in the Final Product process and Mark Green for his microbiology expertise in Case Study 1.

The learning journey our students have been on for the last three months resulted not only in two varied and exciting Presentations of Learning but also in two very polished products.  The Final Product brief was to produce an animation aimed at young people recently diagnosed with either diabetes (7 Explorer) or asthma (7 Pioneer).  Check them out below:

Explorer’s Final Product:

Pioneer’s Final Product:

I am so proud of all that our students have achieved in this expedition and encourage you to ask them more about it; they are a credit to themselves, the school and their families!