Friday, November 29, 2013

Explorers Exhibitions

Exhibitions were a little different this fall than they were last year, and the second round, slated for January, will be a further evolution of the concept.

This time around, the kids were required to teach two fifteen-minute lessons, as they were in 2012-2013. Topics were selected from the theme of Explorers. This was a little tricky, since the word 'exploration' and its relatives are so spongy. 'I'm going to explore how much I like to eat Kit Kats' or 'I want to explore how much I love my stuffed unicorn, Andy' proved tempting topics. These and their ilk were vetoed.

Instead, we had the following collection (this is a complete list):

  • Martian rovers
  • minimalist music
  • early French film
  • the evolution of Antarctic transportation
  • Ponce de Leon
  • royalty in London
  • the colonization of Australia
  • photonic matter
  • life on Mars
  • touring Maastricht
  • Annie Edson Taylor and Jessica Watson
  • theatre in London
  • the emergence of New York City
  • Chinese exploration
  • the European Age of Exploration
  • early navigation
  • early cartography
  • traditional African housing
  • comparing Diana Nyad and Michael Phelps
  • Ponce de Leon
  • the Silk Road
  • missions to Mars
  • a history of computers
  • the palace of Knossos
  • Eurycleia, Odysseus' maid

As always, students were expected to engage their attendees and provide activities that would enable us to process the material. The kids did this in a variety of ways befitting their variety of interests. Danny showed an early French film, providing annotations and answering questions throughout. Ryan played samples of minimalist music. Aristea created a game show on Minoan civilization. Mike asked his audience to use Pei Xiu's six principles of cartography to map out one of our project rooms. Lily walked us through an activity-filled six-stop tour of London.

Faculty came out in force, for which we're grateful: Josh, Monica, Joanna, Imogen, Val, Sam, Rachel, Karen, Mary and Fran all attended at least one Exhibition.

For the next round, engaging the theme of Identity, three changes will be implemented.

1. Instead of teaching two fifteen-minute lessons, students will teach one thirty-minute lesson.
2. Each student will have an adult mentor, identified via the topic selected.
3. A full round of rehearsals will be formally scheduled.

Once students have finished reading the Identity coursepack, the preparation and proposal of individual projects will get underway. Topics will be selected and mentors identified before the holiday break. Exhibitions will take place in the third week of January.

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