GCAA Physics teacher Alicia Dunn invited me to her 9th Grade Class to watch her students figure out how to slow down falling eggs. There is a serious reason to study deacceleration - - it's the principle on which air bags work. The supplies given to the students were extremely limited (see the instructions here and here). And then the eggs fell. Everyone seemed to be having a good time in the end, except for the eggs, who were smiling earlier on.
A team of GCAA eighth grade students coached by GCAA teachers teachers Andrew Goodin, Luke Stegmann and Alicia Dunn are featured in this KSDK Channel 5 story. The students have been chosen to send experiments into outer space! As detailed in this article at the Confluence site:
GCAA, in partnership with Enterprise in Space, is sending student experiments into space on a rocket. The launch is May 20 from the Spaceport in New Mexico.
I'm posting this article to share pictures of projects my students did this week. As part is our Earth science lessons, they were assigned a strange geologic formation. I used the "Believe It or Not's" list of 25 strangest geologic formations. These are some of the projects that the kids came up with. They had to research and present them to the class. Some were edible so I don't have pictures of those because we ate them ????. The exception is Skaftafell, in Iceland, which is the double layer cake in the picture. We had the wherewithal to take a picture of it first. The other ones represented are Gibson's steps in Australia; Devils Tower in Wyoming; the Cave of Crystal in Mexico and the Puerto Princesa underground river in the Philippines. There were many additional projects, although some of the kids have already taken their projects home ...
For several years I've served as webmaster and content provider for the GCAA website. It never fails to energize and delight me to gather images like these, images of students and teachers working hard, yet simultaneously celebrating all that GCAA has become in six short years. Many of us were there as students or parents of 6th or 7th graders back in 2010 when GCAA opened doors. The school now serves grades grades 6 through 12, at a watershed moment: GCAA's seniors are preparing to graduate and move on to the next phases of their lives now filled with intense training in both academics and art. These photos are small sampling of the many happenings at this magically vibrant community in Grand Center. GCAA is an experiment that has proven wildly successful in many ways, as demonstrated by the inspiring stories about the graduating seniors and also by these images. The following photos are all from yesterday. Carol York's 6th Grade science class was busy preparing for a field trip at Forest Park. Over in the 7th grade area, Lauren Campbell teaches geometry to her students: Here's another photo from yesterday: Graduating GCAA senior, JuJu Vieth, shares a light moment with Denise Farnworth, her sixth grade math teacher--that year of 2010 JuJu was part of GCAA's first ever 6th grade class. As a parent, it has been one of my favorite things about Grand Center Arts Academy to see so many of the teachers mentoring their students long term. Down another couple floors, an art studio filled with students was quietly working on their painting techniques: There is no way to fully understand GCAA. It is an ever-changing ultra-creative community filled with energy, much of it young, diverse and kind-hearted, exporing new modes of expression in every day. Every moment at GCAA is merely one more piece of a mesmerizing and ever-expanding mosaic.
Note from Steve Burgess: Here is the video of our robot from Saturday’s competition. We were able to get it to work and score some points. Saturday we competed in the First Competition held at STLCC-Meramec. We were able to work with many people to help get our robot out of the pits. The students were able to see what a great opportunity to work with others. Together we achieved the goals we wanted to accomplish. We will continue to meet and build to improve our robot. Overall it has been a challenge. The students have worked very hard. We are proud of them. I will send you the video link in the next email. See photos from the competition in the gallery following this video.
A few weeks ago, I visited Fred Warren’s “Innovations in Engineering” class. As I expected, there was a lot of activity in the classroom, with Warren encouraging the students to work independently and self-monitor. And as I also expected, Mr. Warren referred me to the students to better understand what was going on. More specifically, I spoke with Shannon McDonald, Nicolas Baggett, Brittany Swanson and Vernisha Jackson (see photo of these four students below). These students explained that the Innovations class is actually two classes in one. Those students in the Innovations I class are given a project by Mr. Warren. They are given one month to complete the project, which is then graded. Nicolas Baggett explained that many of the projects involved construction of various types. Current projects include construction of model airplanes, bridges (e.g., made of cards—see the photo below) and towers (e.g., made of spaghetti). Shannon McDonald stated that the students learn to carefully document and record their progress on the project so that others would be able to replicate all aspects of the project, including the reasoning process of the student. Brittany Swanson described Innovations II, in which Mr. Warren supervises the students’ development of the projects. The students are required to create their own engineering projects during the semester. These projects are complex and take many forms, including games, video documentaries and policing strategies. One of these projects (on climate change) was created by Daniel Schmidt and it appears below in the form of a video. -- Gallery:
This article was written by Carol York, 6th Grade Science: The 2013-2014 school year has been busy for my 6th grade science classes. The 6th grade curriculum emphasizes the study of Earth Science. I’ve integrated STE(A)M (science, technology, engineering, art and math) into lessons where possible. Our lessons include learning how the Earth was formed, and how it continuously changes shape. We study rocks, soil and water as well as minerals, elements and atoms. My students measure their smiles, calculate the half-life of isotopes and count how many drops of water fit on a penny. They have learned to be good stewards of the land. Assignments are as varied as writing weekly current event articles (non-fiction, science related text) to being part of a task force to help the Lorax solve “Onecler created” environmental problems. Students learned the scientific method and then designed their own experiments. They’ve had competitions to see who could create the tallest tower using only two pieces of paper and who could create the most earthquake resistant structure using Jello, marshmallows and toothpicks. As we wind down the year, we will study everything water; from watersheds to water pollution to fish and waterways. Our final unit will be the study of weather. The culminating project for the year will be our field trip to Forest Part where students will spend the day fishing, observing invertebrates, testing water and taking a watershed scavenger hunt. As I said, we’ve been busy. Take a look at some of the pictures and see for yourself. Here are some of our students on a field trip to the Litzinger Road Ecology Center:
On Teaching Science in a School with an Arts Curriculum.Fred Warren has described himself as an "enthusiastic science teacher." In this video interview you'll see why that label sticks. His interview also addresses the challenges and opportunities of teaching science to students at a high school with an arts curriculum.
[By Joerdan Carney, Abi Gray, and Magnolia Mulvihill of the GCAA Website Reporting Club]. This past Friday evening, three student reporters interviewed Carol York, GCAA's sixth grade science teacher. She's been a science teacher at GCAA for three years, ''I was here at the very beginning.''For the first year she taught the sixth graders Life Science, now she teaches them Earth Science, which is exciting for her because she has always had an interest in geology. ''We just finished a unit on geologic time, and we'll be starting a unit on aquatic ecosystems.'' Mrs. York believes in hands-on learning. She plans to have the kids grow plants, do water testing, and go fishing! Mrs. York enjoys teaching at GCAA because ''a lot of people can think outside the box.'' She likes how students creatively present their learning. Even though Mrs. York doesn't have an artistic background, her children do. She has a daughter who's an art major in college, and another that is a dancer. Mrs. York is a phenomenal teacher!