September Creek Walk

Every Fall Grade 2 starts the school year with a creek walk to collect, tally and study crayfish. The walk exemplifies both Harley's commitment to linking our students to the outside world and experiential teaching philosophy that is multi-dimensonal. Among the skills and attitudes reinforced by this experience are:
  • community respect and responsibility for all forms of life
  • team work
  • building upon previous knowledge
  • data collecting, analyzing
  • drawing conclusions
  • observation developed via drawing
The sort video below shows the integrated aspect of the experience from prep to analysis. The photos that follow show the students making further classroom observations. With personal graphs of the data, students now study and draw the crayfish.
Beginning this year, the crayfish data will be saved so that we can begin to build a year-to-year record of the crayfish #'s at this given site at the same time of year.
Video link:
Creek Walk

October Beekeeper Visit

In October, continuing to engage with the natural world via common backyard animals, Grade Two undertook a study of bees. Students generated a list of questions they wanted to answer about bees, made model bees and read books about bees. The culminating event was a visit from a local beekeeper who keeps his hives on a warehouse roof in Rochester! He shared his knowledge and his bees (via a portable hive) with Grade Two. The video, Bees, provides snapshots of how and what students learned during their bee exploration.
​Video link

Experiments UP!

In late November, the middle school Design elective class, attempted to lift the hot air balloon they'd designed to carry it's own heat supply. In this venture (which did succeed!) they were unaware that students in Grade Two had already devoted several days to a related problem. After classroom preparation, Grade Two conducted their experiment in the field house. The goal was to determine which of several bags would most successfully rise using hot air produced by a popcorn popper. With the results of this experiment, they went back to the classroom to further debate the possible conclusions. In addition to the natural need for math skills that emerged from the experiment, for many students there arose a whole new consideration of air: hot, cold, composition, other kinds of gases, etc.
The 'in-the- field' enthusiasm generated by the project is evident from watching and listening to them at work.
For a capsule view of this event, video link: Hot Air Balloon Experiment

Angry Birds in the classroom.

Grade 2B reported that they ALL played Angry Birds masterfully with one or two students contending for the honor of being "the best".
As they worked out how to launch their ping pong balls ( a project based on the popular game), the benefits of this design thinking project were evident in:
  • team work
  • integration of virtual and physical materials on behalf of understanding
  • interdisciplinary learning - math & physics, general communication and data analysis
As design thinking projects continue to build a presence throughout Harley, it is important to keep in mind how all areas of learning can be aided by some elemets of this approach.
For more information:
Four Benefits of the Design Studio for all Learning
The video clip below shows 2B at work on this project.