Showing posts with label Creativity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Creativity. Show all posts

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Tapping Into Problem-Based Learning

Problem based learning (PBL) is a student-centred approach that gives students experience with solving open-ended problems. This approach to learning encourages teamwork, the use of trial and error and critical thinking, all of which are vital skills for students to acquire in high school.  
 
 
A great example of this teaching method was used recently in our Grade 8 science classes. As part of a unit on simple machines and the study of levers, students worked in teams to design and build a Trebuchet. A trebuchet is a medieval siege weapon designed to throw projectiles long distances. A key element of this design involves using a beam, hinged at a pivot point to launch a projectile.
 
 

 
Students began the task by making a prototype and used it to experiment with the ideal ratios of the beam, pivot and counterweight to develop their final design. Students used materials such as doweling, straws and plastic spoons to build their final prototype. They used their machine to calculate mechanical advantage and work. A written reflection on what they had learned through the process was also completed.
 

 
As a concluding activity, students competed against one another to determine which trebuchet could fling a mini-marshmallow the furthest distance. Knowing the inquiry ended with this type of competition really motivated students to build the most effective trebuchet.  

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

"Flipping" Student Learning

Educational research indicates that deep learning takes place when there is “interplay between the cognitive, interpersonal and intrapersonal skills” (National Research Council, July 2012, p.2). This approach was evident in a recent Grade 10 Canadian History class, as students used “flip debates” to develop a position on the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The class began with students using appropriate documents and working in small teams to become familiar with the fact patterns related to this historical event. This team work enabled students to develop such important interpersonal skills as communication and perspective.
 
Students were then instructed to work with their team to develop a position as to whether the bombing should have taken place. Doing so enables students to think and reason about an important moral issue. Teachers then placed teams with opposing viewpoints on the issue into one group and instructed the group to examine the “flip” side of their position. Ultimately, the team had to reach a consensus on the topic. Adding this step to the process forces students to think carefully and debate both sides of the issues in order to reach a carefully considered point of view.
 
Having students write about what they learned through the “flip debate” is an excellent intrapersonal activity, as it allows them to assess how their initial position on the issue evolved.

Friday, 9 March 2018

Integrating Student Learning

Grade 7 Integration Week helps students make vital connections between the different subjects that they learn in school. By creating a challenge for students to respond to that incorporates what they have learned across their courses, from Science, Math, English, and Social Studies students can see the connections between what are often perceived to be separate areas of knowledge.



The theme of Grade 7 Integration Week was “How to Survive a Natural Disaster.” Canadian author Eric Walters, who writes on the theme of survival, spoke to the students about the inspiration behind his stories and what it takes to survive disaster. Being able to hear from an author such as Walters, whose books they have read, was inspiring for students, encouraging them to really think deeply about their work during Integration Week.

 
For the rest of their activities, students broke into teams to solve problems that would arise in the wake of a natural disaster, taken from the pages of an Eric Walters novel. Each challenge required drawing on concepts they learned in class. For example, students applied their learning about heat, insulation, and distillation from science class to the challenge of how disaster survivors could cook food, keep warm, and purify water.

 
They designed original prototypes of survival aid devices, strategically selected gear for a survival mission, and wrote journal entries from the perspective of a character in their chosen Eric Walters novel. Each challenge required students to think critically, and encouraged the to create unique solutions.
 
By approaching one challenge from so many angles, they can also determine the best way to solve multi-disciplinary problems in the future. They can apply the strategies they develop from one subject to solve challenges in another. This will help them be more agile, adaptable learners, skills so crucial for lifelong learning. 

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Understanding Urban Sustainability

Our Grade 11 and 12 Green Industries program offers students a great opportunity to think critically about issues related to sustainability in urban environments. Recently, students in the Grade 11 class worked in small teams to plan and build sustainable farms.



This activity built on prior learning in which students looked at the components of soil. As part of this study, students learned how to use food scraps, newspaper and worms to maintain vermicomposters. This device produces “black gold,” a nutrient-dense soil additive.




Students then worked to design and build their sustainable farms; these farms include important real-life elements as seeds, aeration, and irrigation, as well as the aforementioned “black gold” soil additive. Having to develop a marketing plan for the promotion of their farm prototype adds another authentic learning dimension to the activity.



Students in this program have many opportunities for the kind of hands-on learning described in this entry. Besides engaging them fully, this approach also helps students learn to be adaptive problem solvers.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

From Costumes to Haute Couture: Fabrication Room

The fabrication room gave our Junior Play crew the space they needed to create these
amazing costumes, sets and props.

Greenwood’s recent production of The Lion King Jr. was our most ambitious ever. Our new fabrication room played an important role in bringing the Serengeti to life.

Putting on a play like The Lion King takes lots of costumes, sets and props - and somewhere to create them. In the runup to opening night in December, the fabrication room provided plenty of space for students to work on everything from painting scenery to sewing a gown.

On show nights, the fabrication room also doubled as a dressing room.

Move-in day is challenging for any school production. The large scale of the sets for this year’s Junior Play made this task even more challenging. Having the fabrication room located within steps of our performance theatre, minimized the moving distance (and the risk of accidental damage to sets and props). Additionally, the doorway of the room is designed to accommodate an 8-foot scenery flat with ease.

During the performance, this area also doubled as a dressing room. Reconfiguring the furniture provided an ideal surface for applying makeup, styling hair and making last-minute costume adjustments before students took the stage.

Creating Catwalk-Worthy Looks


Amelia Ferguson ('17) models one of her fashion creations at our Winter Arts Showcase.
"It felt professional - like a real fashion studio," she says of the fabrication room.

The fabrication room isn’t just for plays; it also supports our senior fashion classes. Rather than being packed away after each use, sewing machines are ready to go throughout the semester, providing students more work time by reducing set up and clean up time. Recently installed shelving also allows students to safely store their work between classes.

Amelia Ferguson (‘17), a fashion student and Junior Play crew member, has really enjoyed her experience in the fabrication room so far this year.

“It felt professional - like a real fashion studio,” Amelia says. “There was so much usable space, and I loved having the sewing machines already out before every fashion class. For the play, it was amazing having everything stored in one area and being able to grab anything we needed quickly.”

Students have already produced amazing work in this space. We look forward to seeing what they create next!