Curiosity, Creativity and Project-Based Learning
Who and what makes up our world? This study begins by connecting with the individuals in the classroom and school and taking a closer look into who we are and what we collectively need to thrive at school. Daily adventures on the campus grounds and around the town of Hastings lead us to broaden and deepen our sense of place and community. International studies and interviews help us to develop an understanding of how cultural differences impact the interpretation of events at the local, national and international levels.
Students' desire to be skilled readers and writers is supported with read-alouds and developmentally-tailored lessons informed by frameworks such as Read Write Inc. and Fountas and Pinnell’s Benchmarks. Speaking and listening skills are honed through thematic discussions and interviews. Writing skills are put to work as we document the data, the stories and the people around us.
Our physical and social surroundings serve as the context for mathematical explorations. Students go on math trails crafted around word problems that highlight number value, geometry and data and then create their own Hudson Lab School math trails. Math skills are practiced and applied in our 3D model building project where number, measurement and scale are critical. Games and materials from TERC Investigations are used to further strengthen number sense, mathematical reasoning and communication.
Students use their powers of observation and data collection to understand diverse ecosystems from an ecological perspective and share their knowledge as Citizen Scientists with a global community of scientists. Their scientific investigations will lead to student action as they design and implement improvements for a healthier environment.
After deep investigations, students move through a process which integrates skills and understanding across content areas as they design, redesign, build prototypes in iteration and ultimately succeed in building a collective model that expresses the perspective of the whole group. A range of materials and tools are used, including construction and art materials, circuitry and a laser cutter. Tablets, and photo and video equipment are additional tools students use to document the design process.
Art is an integral part of the learning and design processes and is a vehicle for constructing and expressing meaning. Iterative drawings and paintings are created as we get to know a variety of people, views, details and landscapes around us. Blocks and clay are our play materials as we reconstruct, represent and capture the physical, emotional and social components of Hudson Lab School.
As students explore community, they learn about themselves and those around them, and how individual action has immediate and rippling effects. The question, how do we care for our community, raises the challenge of taking on new behaviors, actions and innovations that help all community members to thrive. Student collaboration on the model-making, citizen science project and math trail provide fertile ground for the development of communication skills, self-awareness and compassio
As students explore the school community, they build connections to the human and natural ecosystems they inhabit. Taking a deeper look at the relationships within these systems leads to a nuanced understanding of the interdependencies that exist and how one person’s actions impacts the ability of others to thrive. In this study, students are asked to consider how we can make our community healthier, more joyful and more sustainable.