Not many students get to explore Death Valley, but the All-day Wilderness class does. Wilderness teacher Melissa Bernstein and Expeditions Executive Director Lucretia Witte decided to take the All-day Wilderness class on a four-day trip to Death Valley to close the school year.
The All-day Wilderness course features a variety of outdoor activities in many different unique locations, along with a chance to experience overnight camping trips. “We designed a whole trip, created an itinerary and then executed the trip,” Denali freshman Andrew Larkins said.
“Being able to go on trips and getting to know others better is pretty cool,” Denali freshman Daniel Gandi said.
See below for a video about the All-day Wilderness course:
In their freshman year, students read creative novels in their English class. Now, the Creative Writing as Performance Expeditions course gives them the chance to write their own stories. The course gives students the chance to express themselves through their writing.
“I was able to express my emotions about a certain circumstance that happened in my life. It was my favorite because I was able to incorporate my feelings into it and really show who I was and the person I had become during that time,” Denali junior Andrea Atayde said.
Creative Writing instructor Liz DeOrnellas explained that teaching the course also helps push her to further develop her own craft. “It gives me more motivation to actually continue writing my own stuff and to publish my own stuff,” she explained.
See below for a video about the Creative Writing course:
Coming to Expeditions in the 2019-20 school year will be Botany, a brand new course that will be offered at Everest and Rainier. It will be taught by current College Readiness teacher, Jane Rieder. This course offers a new type of learning experience for students interested in plants and Life Sciences.
Botany is the study of plants. Naturally, this course will feature learning about plants, their identity, structure, place of origin, etc, but it will also feature a lot of interesting off-campus learning experiences. This is a very hands-on course that is STEM-based. This class is similar to a biology course but provides a more in-depth understanding of plant life.
When explaining this course, Ms. Rieder stated, “I have been very passionate for a long time about having more STEM offerings in our Expeditions curriculum, and I’m hoping that this will be a part of that.”
Botany teacher Jane Rieder
Ms. Rieder has a lot of experience in education, having previously taught math, Education Pathways and, most recently, College Readiness; however, she has an undeniable passion for Botany. She has put a lot of care and thought into this course, which will make this class all that more enjoyable.
Ms. Rieder reaffirmed her excitement, stating: “I love teaching; I love being in front of students; I love fostering people’s curiosity … planning for Botany has been really unique in that it’s [been] fun and I don’t want to stop.”
See below for a video about the new Botany course:
Students have many different interests, but sometimes they aren’t able to build these skills through classes. Summit’s Independent Learning course is the exception, allowing students to explore their interests through internships and independent studies.
“I chose this because I love making the school nice,” Denali sophomore Jiapsyh Estrada Tellez said. This year she interned with Expeditions Dean Kalyn Olson as a teacher’s helper.
“We want to make sure that we are offering the time management and planning skills and support for a student to make sure they are mapping out for those 30 hours a week, for those eight weeks,” Ms. Olson said. Students who are are interested in participating in either internship or independent study next year can visit tinyurl.com/theILwebsite for more information.
See below for a video about the Independent Learning course:
Featured image (at the top of this post): Denali sophomores Jiapsyh Estrada Tellez and Daisy Diaz Orozco interned with Expeditions Dean Kalyn Olson this school year. PHOTO CREDIT: Diego Quintero-Serrano
By Charles Cassel, Jacob Gaylordand Michael Stavintser
Journalism is a medium that allows students and people from all around the world to learn more about their surroundings. The Multimedia Political Journalism class at Summit Denali expands this topic by illustrating the ideas and current news of political figures, stances and topics.
“I will be back for Advanced Multimedia Political Journalism because I enjoyed the first class, and I would like to pursue it more,” Denali freshman Mark Haiko said.
Advanced Multimedia Political Journalism will be a new course at Summit Denali for the 2019-20 school year. Interested students must have already passed Multimedia Political Journalism (the introductory course) or complete a teacher recommendation form with their independent study paperwork. Interested students should email the journalism adviser, Liz DeOrnellas, at email@example.com for more information.
“I would say that the work was a little bit harder for me because I don’t like to write, but it was very interesting and that helped me get through the class,” Denali sophomore Kyle Kobetsky said. “Going over topics and covering them was very interesting, but it was challenging.”
See below for a video about the Multimedia Political Journalism course:
Featured image (at the top of this post): Journalism students participate in a Socratic seminar to reflect on their current event lessons. PHOTO CREDIT: Mark Haiko
As the school year comes to a close, a new style of learning is just beginning. The robotics program at Summit Public Schools is seeing a new development under Sherri Taylor, the Robotics course instructor across four Summit campuses.
Throughout the past year, students have been experiencing an in-depth program meant to develop skills in fluently combining programs — EV3 and Python — with machines made out of Legos in order to complete set tasks. This ability is developed over the course, and, by the end of the year, most students will have developed an aptitude for robotics.
“I think it’s really important that students have the opportunity to use their whole self when they learn something,” Ms. Taylor said.
Denali freshman Ibrahim Ayub said students have learned how to program robots using EV3 software, as well as learning other important programming concepts. “We also learned to never give up,” he added.
Beyond individual skills, students also developed abilities critical to their end goals, such as teamwork. “I like how the students have learned to collaborate better and resolve conflicts … and develop empathy and patience for students … they really want to engineer robots,” Ms. Taylor said.
These students don’t just take these skills home. The Robot Games, an inter-school event created by Ms. Taylor, will test the designing, programming and teamwork abilities of each school. Classes will be grouped into teams and put their robots to the test. “It’s kind of like a take-off of the Olympics … students provide a game that other robots could play … another school could actually recreate their game,” she said.
Demos will measure their robots’ efficiency and effectiveness. Points will be gained based off the success of the robot in a certain game and its ability to be emulated by other schools. “Then the original inventors get points, and the students that do it in the second school also get points,” Ms. Taylor said. Exemplifying the idea of teamwork, this new method hopes to accelerate the robotics program and students’ progress.
Students themselves have also weighed their development, a point made clear by Ayub who discussed the benefits of learning through collaboration. “All of our projects involve teamwork … at first me and my partner didn’t work together, but we learned to share work … When one person builds, and the other programs … that helps,” he said.
The Robot Games competition will build over each successive run, allowing schools to improve on their prior years and effectively compete with other schools’ teams. Signifying a major shift in Expeditions’ impact on students, the establishment and development of Robot Games over the next few years will foster a new perspective on learning through collaboration — a method that could better develop interest in engineering and programming in students throughout coming years.
See below for a video on the Robotics course and the Robot Games:
When you walk into the Intro to Visual Arts classroom, pieces around the class provide an energetic atmosphere. The Intro to Visual Arts Expeditions course helps students learn different techniques and tactics in regards to art.
“I chose this class because I love drawing, and I want art to be a part of my career,” Denali sophomore Sara Ditto said.
“I chose to become an art teacher because I am an artist by trait, and I like being able to go over the skills that I learned throughout my art career and giving students a chance to express themselves in different formats is very important to me,” Visual Arts teacher Mathew Scicluna said.
See below for a video about the Intro to Visual Arts course: