Friday, October 19, 2018

Get Out There and Research!!

When it comes to their education, Seabury students don't just sit back and take it! They get out there and do it!

Seabury Middle School's Project-Based Learning means that students learn by getting their hands dirty, so to speak. Students have all chosen a topic of interest relating to Washington State History, our larger concept this year,  and have been working in groups the last few weeks designing a project that will showcase their learning. Rather than having teachers tell them facts to memorize, students area gathering the facts they need to make their projects successful. They have been visiting with experts in the field, taking customized field study trips, and today, as a group, visited the Burke Museum in Seattle.

There is not a single student project that could not benefit from the Burke Museum's amazing collection of Washington's geological, paleontological, and cultural history. Students were given research tasks to complete while they were there, and also used the opportunity to further their projects via real artifacts and experts. The group studying ancient Native American canoe travel found a great display on how Pacific Islanders traveled across the Pacific in canoes. The group studying prehistoric animals in Washington state found a skeleton of the giant sloth they had only seen a picture of. The group studying food and culture in Washington discussed an exhibit on traditional food at Chinese wedding celebrations. They researched, they took notes, and even when their teachers were ready to go, many students begged for a little more time.

Seabury Middle School doesn't like the term "field trip." Field trips are done after we've studied something, to see first hand what they already know. Instead, Seabury prefers the term "field studies" where we use the field to further our knowledge, develop our research base, and learn things we did not yet know. Today's trip to the Burke Museum was a great example of an amazing field study trip!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Ada Lovelace Day at the Middle School: A Celebration of Women in STEM Careers

This past Tuesday, Seabury Middle School students celebrated Ada Lovelace Day.
The middle school science teacher, Mr. Mackenzie, invited women in STEM fields to lead activities
and talk to the students about how they use science, technology, engineering, and math in their jobs
and about what it is like to be a woman in their fields.
We welcomed Dr. Monica Abbi, Dr. Kathy Wang, Dr. Sprenger, Ms. Sonja Anderson,
Ms. Janice Spika, Dr. Penny Rowe, and Dr. Sharon Amani. Their areas of expertise include
obstetrics and gynecology, pain management, climate change research in Antarctica, cancer
research, architecture, business management, and sustainability research in sub-Saharan Africa.
Students introduced each of the experts, practicing their presentation skills.

Students asked questions about changes in weather patterns, sea-level rise in Tacoma, how the
Seabury Middle School space was designed, and how cells multiply and divide. Some students
had questions about how to pursue a career in medicine, and others wanted to know how realistic
medical shows are on television. Ms. Anderson told the students there is a pattern on the floor in the
barn door room. Some know what it is. Will others solve the mystery?

As is always true of any good learning experience, the students ended the day with more questions
than they started with.