E24 STEAM: Biodiversity in ecosystems

E24 have been Working Hard learning about biodiversity in ecosystems through the use of diagrams to illustrate data: food chains, food webs, pyramids of number and pyramids of biomass.  Brendan was really proud of the effort he had put into his food web, drawing coloured circles around each organism to show whether it was a producer or different types of consumer; Theone’s food chain incorporated colour coding and a key; Mackenzie’s pyramid of numbers was a good example of a scale diagram drawn with a pencil and ruler.

How do we build an Eco School of our own?

E24’s most recent STEAM Learning Target was “I can evaluate to what extent my school meets the criteria to become an Eco School”. The Guiding Question for this joint HUMAN-STEAM expedition is “How can we build a place of our own?”

They researched what it takes to apply for Eco School Bronze Accreditation and presented their findings to E25 students; consequently they drummed up so much interest we now have 47 nominees for 8 positions on the new Eco Committee!

E24 students then carried out their own Environmental Reviews of the school, identifying what we are doing well and what we could improve on across 10 topic areas. Thank you to all the staff who helped in answering questions ranging from “do school meals use fish from sustainable sources?” to “what steps have XP East taken to reduce energy usage?” All of this builds on the work we have been doing since September on energy usage, sustainability and efficient building design.

Finally the students each created their own Action Plan with suggestions which the final Eco Committee may take forward in the real whole-school Action Plan. Here are photographs of a selection, including Nathan’s, which considered increasing student intake of fruit at sporting events; through live class critique of his work on the board Nathan could share his original ideas as well as gain constructive feedback as to how to improve his answers in the ‘monitoring’ column.

Watch this space to learn more about who is selected by their Crews for positions on the Eco Committee as well as the Committee’s final three focus topics for the school Action Plan…

Both 8 Pioneer and 8 Explorer have an extended writing task for which the deadline is next Thursday 18th October.  The question is How was XP East sustainably designed around the principle of…? – the students complete the title by including their personal area of interest following the visit from XP East’s architect, Leanne Stamp, last week. 

All the resources to support this task, including the assessment rubric, are available on Google Classroom and students have been given time in a number of sessions this week to begin their writing, with peer-critique of their work and class-critique of WAGOLLs to support their development of ideas.

The majority of students will type their final draft, but if they have limited access at home to devices they will be permitted to handwrite their work in their book.

Please do email me if you have any questions.

Mrs Townson

8 Pioneer let the pen do the talking!

8 Pioneer are well into their reading of ‘Of Mice and Men’ and have now been introduced to the characters of George, Lennie, Slim, Curley and Curley’s Wife.

Today we started to map out our ideas about the different characters, in preparation for a more in-depth character analysis.  We did this using a Silent Discussion protocol, where we use the pen rather than our voices to express our ideas.  This protocol allows for everyone’s “voices” to be heard within the group discussion.

A big well done to Callie who backed up her comments with quotes from the book.  Great stuff!

C24 Expert visit from architect, Leanne Stamp

Last week we had the pleasure of welcoming Leanne Stamp, the architect who designed our school, to XP East.  It was not the first time Leanne had visited the school, but she expressed her joy at finally seeing the school full of students, staff and furniture and being used just as she had envisaged!

Both 8Pioneer and 8Explorer demonstrated excellent focus during each of her two hour sessions, in which she detailed her role as an architect and explained where it fitted into a wider team; she also shared with our students the design principles behind developing a building from concept to actual use, before setting up a group activity for them to apply these principles to the design of XP East.

This week we have followed up Leanne’s visit by consolidating our notes, using marketplace activities to share our learning from the group work sessions.  8Pioneer students have each chosen an area of the design principles which interests them and 8Explorer will identify their own areas of interest next week.  Each student will use this area of interest as the focus for a piece of extended writing on how XP East was sustainably designed and how we could develop it in the future.

Many thanks to all of our students for their questions, keen interest and for demonstrating the Character Traits during Leanne’s visit, particularly those of Respect and Craftsmanship and Quality.  I really enjoyed the day and I know it was a turning point in the expedition for many of our students, as it really brought the importance of sustainability to the fore.

C24 expert visit from Leanne Stamp, Architect

On Tuesday 2nd October C24 will work with Leanne Stamp, the architect who designed XP East and who is the expert for the next learning target in our Expedition, A Place Of Our Own.  We have prepared for her visit by learning new key words such as ‘innovation’ and ‘sustainability’; considered how emotion could be linked to different architectural styles; discussed heating and lighting techniques to minimise energy consumption and have written questions about her role and rationale for the design of XP East.

Watch this space to hear more after her visit!

Peer critique

8 Pioneer have been working on the first draft of their essays, where they will answer the following question:

“The Dust Bowl was the most significant factors in the Great Depression.  How far do you agree with this statement?”

Our students are encouraged to peer critique each other’s work as it forms an important part of the redrafting process, before they go on to submit their essay for assessment.  Students are always encouraged to be kind, specific and helpful with their feedback.

Today, Tom and Aden both shared their first drafts with the rest of the class for critique.

Tom explained why he finds peer critique so useful: “It’s easy to miss mistakes when you’re reading your own work over and over again. Also, other students have offered me some really useful suggestions on how I can improve my work.”

Energy, homes and cheese puffs: C24 STEAM

C24 have kicked off their Expedition ‘A Place of Our Own’ by considering energy use in the home (including the energy stored in a single cheese puff snack!).Our students used calorimetry to calculate the energy transferred from a cheese puff when it burns…we wonder how many joules of energy are needed to power appliances in the home? They also ‘grappled‘ with some challenging questions to give them a flavour of what we will be studying next week.

We look forward to welcoming a mystery expert to school on Wednesday 26th September to help us dig deeper into the Learning Target: I can explain how the Earth’s resources are used in a domestic context.

HUMANS: ‘Of Mice and Men’

8Pioneer have had a brilliant session this morning analysing Steinbeck’s use of language and imagery in the opening chapter of our anchor text, ‘Of Mice and Men’ (OMAM).

As ever, the students’ thoughts generated some really interesting and insightful discussions.

Well done to Adam M, Brendan K and Callie S for volunteering to be our first readers, too.