Applying Learning in Grade 7
In Middle School, the focus on inquiry-based learning continues, along with in-depth explorations of subjects. Children are assessed not merely on subject knowledge, but also on skills of research, organisation, presentation and application.
Through reading Shakespeare’s Macbeth, we are taught to write play scripts. We begin with the investigation of King Duncan’s murder, where a list of suspects needs to be interviewed. I deduce that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are both clear liars!
Our project to build a Solar Cooker throws up so many questions: we realise how we take energy and fuels for granted. Have we thought about how long it will last, or even where it comes from? We watched the movie, An Inconvenient Truth. Everyone should see it!
We want to figure out how important it is to use non-polluting sources of energy. So we’re visiting “Navadarshanam” – a little farm that is big on alternative sources of energy. We actually got our hands “dirty” as we learnt how to prepare Gobar Gas from real, live, stinky cow dung!! Can’t wait to do it again!
Chlorophyll is seriously fascinating. Do plants really need it for photosynthesis? How do we prove that it is the green parts of the leaf that actually make sugars? What about variegated leaves? Do they produce sugars only in the green sections? And then we learn about the starch test.
An excerpt from my journal describing the splendours of Vijayanagara, in the persona of Nicolo Conti, the famous traveller and historian:
“I am Nicolo Conti. I’ve just returned to the court in Vijayanagara, from visiting the very beautiful Vitthala Temple in Hampi. The musical pillars there are truly unique. I marvel at the genius of the creators of this wonder, and hope to visit it again, soon.”
The teacher distributes two square-shaped pieces (one big and the other small) and two rectangles of paper to each of us. Assuming the sides of the big square are ‘a’ and the small square are ‘b’, and the rectangles have one side as b & the other side as a, we’re asked to find out the area. We arrive at this formula: (a+b)2
I’m really looking forward to PE today. We warm up by doing speed and agility drills and dynamic stretches, then practice shooting hoops for a little while. It’s not game time yet, but today I heard the coach say we’re to focus on lay-ups!
The Media Pod is just great! Today, one of the city’s best known editors talked to us about how he got into journalism, and told us about some of the life-changing incidents he’d witnessed. We’re going to be looking at the media from different angles – as a reporter, an editor, a cameraperson… wow!!
Exploring New Horizons in Grade 10
In Secondary School, there is much excitement among the students about using the vitality and rigour of different disciplines and the various skills acquired – be it research, analysis, evaluation or creation – out in the real world! This provides us yet more insight into the effectiveness of application-based curricula.
Math apparently has no boundaries: everyone’s using it…in business, in technology, in pharmaceuticals, management…you name it! So when I learn about statistics, equations and probability, I see how these concepts are applied by professionals to analyze raw data, draw conclusions on trends and make important decisions keeping the best permutations in mind. Never thought I’d see the real world connect to this complicated Math…but I sure do now!
We’re critiquing art, films, books etc. to develop and hone our language and literary skills. I can see that a critic needs to know quite a bit about his subject before writing about it, so I’m doing lots of research on fantasy films so I can critique the new Harry Potter movie!
The world is my Chemistry Lab! Every single material in nature, in my lunch tray at the cafeteria, the glucose drink I have after athletics…everything possesses a complex and fascinating chemistry. Then we delved into Organic Chemistry…I have to admit that I have been enthralled ever since. Today, my task is to determine the composition, structure, formula and chemical nature of vegetable oils.
My friend and I were wondering how those awesome “serial lights” work…glowing in a multitude of patterns and colours…quite a puzzle! Thanks to our lesson on LEDs, diodes and “wizardry” in electrical circuits, I can actually create complex circuits on my own. My Physics project is going to be “light years” ahead of its time!
I know why I am so talkative in class and so full of energy…it’s in my genes! Studying Genetics has made me realize I can thank my parents [!] for almost all my traits. I am currently researching the field of Genetic Engineering and trying to decide exactly what its ethical implications are…and naturally, I’m looking at the possibility of cloning myself!
Whoever thought that old wars would prove to be such a hot topic of debate even today! We got a taste of the Vietnam War when we watched the movie “Platoon”, and when our curiosity about war had been sufficiently whetted, we were introduced to the Cold War. Did you know that the CIA formulated 638 ways to kill Fidel Castro?? I’m so glad that more people are turning towards peace now than war!
The world around us seems plagued with problems – financial crises, global meltdowns…I am studying why these issues arose in the first place. We had a guest lecture by an important businessman and he helped us understand the whole “Boom–Recession–Depression–Climb Back” cycle and how individual greed contributes to escalating this problem.
I’m learning how to create an online library catalogue. My friend is fully computerizing her local corner store. Working with MS Access and its applications makes us whizzes at streamlining systems!