Fall 2016: Middle School Explorations This Fall, all Middle School students embarked on 2 ½ day learning experience called Explorations. New to our Middle School, Explorations has - without a doubt- proven to be a great addition to our program. Students chose to participate in one of these 4 courses taught by their core teachers:
- Music that Matters
- Picture Books
- Yoga & Mindfulness
- Culinary Arts
The Explorations were authentic and multi-disciplinary. Students learned historical contexts for songs of protest. They learned how to deconstruct children's literature and how to use mentor texts to define and apply the structural elements of great children's books to creating their own. They applied mathematical and organizational skills to creating budgets and following recipes. They practiced deep personal reflection through their learning about mindfulness. And they even explored the artistic side of cooking from the use of spices to creative food presentation.
The Explorations allowed for student learning to happen within real life contexts. Students learned from professional mindfulness coaches, musicians, songwriters, yoga instructors and authors. Students learned both inside and outside of the classroom: experts visited JDS; some students visited the radio station, KEXP; and others made a trip to the grocery store to plan for their recipes.
Students worked across grade levels learning, creating and collaborating with students whom they don't regularly have the opportunity to work with. Teachers shared with their students a passion of theirs and the connection between students and teachers became stronger. And just as great as anything else, was the excitement the Explorations brought. The students' excitement for their learning was truly palpable.
Fall 2016: 2nd Grade: Exploring Liquid Nitrogen at Sub Zero Ice Cream and Yogurt The 2nd Grade headed out to Sub Zero Ice Cream and Yogurt in Federal Way to pair with their inquiry unit: Solids & Liquids. Students learned about liquid nitrogen and what happens to it when it is exposed to water, gummy bears and cream. Students also examined what happens to liquid nitrogen when it is used to blow up balloons and gets thrown on the floor. After observing an engaging demonstration with the nitrogen, the class then determined how they wanted to experience their ice cream. Sub Zero staff blasted the class's chosen cream and mix-ins with liquid nitrogen to a predetermined hardness. The outcome: ice cream! Students had a terrific time embarking on this creative (and tasty!) field trip all in the spirit of solid and liquid states of matter!
Fall 2016: 4th Grade Field Trip to The Burke This Fall, the JDS 4th Grade visited the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture on the University of Washington campus in Seattle to supplement their scientific inquiry into geology. At the museum, students learned about geologic time by exploring the museum's fossil exhibits. Students participated in a simulated fossil dig to identify the origin of mystery fossils and become familiar with the basic practices and concepts of paleontology.
Fall 2016: 8th Grade Math Explorers in HaMorah Andrea's Algebra classes spent the week trying to escape a "tomb". The goal was to balance a pair of baskets suspended at different heights in order to escape the dark cave. Students used their knowledge of x-y tables, graphing and algebraic rules to model the distance from the floor of each basket as more weight was added. This led them to discover when the baskets would be equal heights. Excellent communication skills were practiced as team mates worked together and debated on their results. Luckily, every explorer made it out of the cave safely.
Fall 2015: Kindergarten recently launched its first Inquiry Unit, "Becoming Scientists," discovering that scientists of all ages learn by asking questions. As part of the unit, students visited Oxbow Farm - an organic, sustainable farm in Carnation, WA - where they learned the six parts to plants: roots, stems, leaves, flowers, seeds and fruits - and tried eating them all! Kindergarteners played, explored and immersed themselves in organic farming. Thank you, Oxbow Center & Organic Farm for the amazing scientific experience! — at Oxbow Center & Organic Farm.