Field Experience

Physics in the Garden at Home Depot

Juniors in the Design & Engineering class talked to experts from the gardening department at Home Depot to investigate the physics of gardening tools. In the first unit of this STEAM course, students have been pursuing the guiding question, what lies at the heart of our fundamental drive to create tools?. In their pursuit of an answer, students have been investigating the angles, pressure, force, and leverage in a variety of tools that have forever changed our interactions with our surroundings.

Why?

The purpose of this Field Experience is to investigate the guiding question, what makes an effective tool?. The students talked to experts to identify the differences between mediocre gardening tools and great gardening tools. Through this field research, students will gain insight into how to design their own quality gardening tool.

How?

The students talked to experts to understand how tools are used, the parts that make up the tools, and which tools are most effective and why.

Field Experience

Experiencing Visual Rhetoric at the Living Memorial in Marquette Park

Juniors in the Rhetoric class met with Alia Bilal from Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Living Memorial in Marquette Park. Students have been pursuing the guiding question, how do voices work to unite people, divide opinion, and transcend conflict? In the third unit of this Humanities course, students are asked to look at how rhetoric inspires and mobilizes?. The Action Project for Unit 3 asks students to create “an original artwork” that “speak[s] out on issues that receive little attention” and “inspires collective action.” In order to contextualize such a statement and experience it in person, we journeyed to Marquette Park to see the monument there to Dr. Martin Luther King’s protest march in 1966, known as the Living Memorial.

Field Experience

The Design Process @ Beyond Design

Juniors in the Design & Engineering class met with Michael Prince, the president of Beyond Design. In this STEAM course, students are investigating what it means to be a designer. Through this investigation, students have learned that being a designer is far more than conceptualizing and designing a new product. Being a designer requires empathy, compassion, patience, expertise, and a whole lot more. This was confirmed by our visit with Mr. Prince. He shared stories about the trials and tribulations of starting his own design firm. He stressed the importance of empathizing with his clients, working with a diverse team, and embracing the iterative nature of the design process.

It was a unique and eye-opening experience to get a behind-the-scenes look at a successful design firm.

Why?

This term we are studying design, and how to make things better. The purpose of this FE is to introduce the class to professional designers and to get them to think like designers.

How? 

Students talked to designer Michael Prince and toured Beyond Design to understand the work of a designer.

Field Experience

Forced From Home in Daley Plaza

The Sophomore Stories class and Senior Journalism class visited Forced From Home, an interactive exhibition presented by Doctors Without Borders to educate the public about the refugee crisis. GCE students engaged with stories and materials gathered from refugee camps, sea rescue missions, and emergency medical projects around the world to get closer to the real experiences of people displaced by violence and extreme hardship worldwide.

Why?

Students in Stories and Journalism are investigating how to effectively communicate through storytelling. Students were guided through the exhibit by experienced Doctors Without Borders aids who have seen firsthand the impact of the refugee crisis. The tour guides and components of the exhibit are tasked with sharing the experiences of the refugees in an impactful and responsible way. The students’ experience through this immersive exhibit gave them insight into the elements of effective and responsible storytelling.

How?

In preparation, students learned about the exhibit and its aim to address SDGs 10, 11, and 16.

The Power We Hold

Daniel, Class of 2020 stepped up to the soapbox to talk about his morning commute to school on the CTA. He reflected on the energy he puts out into the world, whether he’s aware of it or not, and he reminded us to be mindful of the power each of us holds in impacting the people around us. It was a thoughtful speech that asked us all to reconsider our relationships with the people we share this world with.

Photo Gallery

It’s Lunchtime and The Livin’s Cheesy

As a part of this month’s community lunch theme, Spice It Up, the Sophomores whipped up a macaroni and cheese bar that featured paprika. The preparation of this lunch was a true exercise in empathy for the chefs. In addition to preparing lunch for the community, they also made gluten-free and vegan versions of their meal. This challenge did not deter these ambitious chefs. In fact, they embraced the spice challenge and presented made-from-scratch pumpkin spice cupcakes for dessert.

Field Experience

Mastering Rhetoric with Troy LaRaviere

I first became interested in the work and activism of Troy LaRaviere from hearing and reading news reports (mostly on WBEZ and the Reader) about his refusal to implement educational policies mandated by the mayor and his surrogates in Chicago Public Schools. I found myself swayed by many of the arguments he put forth through those media and on his own personal blog, and I witnessed some of the results: good, as when his efforts helped uncover a corrupt contract for which CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett was imprisoned; bad, as when he was removed from his post as principal of Blaine Elementary in Lakeview.

World Gratitude Day

World Gratitude Day was launched in 1965 at the International East-West Center in Hawaii during a Thanksgiving Dinner hosted by meditation guru Sri Chinmoy. Those in attendance, including delegates and high-ranking officials from more than a dozen countries around the world, pledged to celebrate gratitude and to count blessings from their home country every September 21 following. The goal of the founders is that by taking time, one day a year, to reflect on the many amazing things we have in our lives, it would positively impact our well-being and make us happier, more contented people. Our community define gratitude and share what they are grateful for.

Field Experience

Attending to Human Needs @ Lincoln Park Community Shelter

Unit I of SDGs & You is entitled Access, and it asks students to investigate the first, second, and fourth Sustainable Development Goals: No Poverty, No Hunger, and Quality Education (respectively). The students’ trip to Lincoln Park Community Shelter to prepare, serve, and eat a meal with the residents there gave them some first-hand experience with people in their community who know the challenges related to these goals quite intimately. This experience contributed primary research data to their first Action Project, which asks students to argue that a human need should be regarded as a human right.

Why?

Students will manage a budget for food, planning for a group of 25-30 residents (plus our class). We will create a plan for preparing the food in time for an 11:45 serving, after which we will eat with residents, sharing in both food and conversation. Finally, we will clean up the kitchen and common room of LPCS and reflect on our service.

How?

In preparation we are mapping some areas around the world most impacted by the challenges referred to in SDGs 1, 2, and 4. We have likewise used data from the City of Chicago’s data portal to turn the mirror back on the United States, asking ourselves where in our own communities we share similar struggles. Our meal service at LPCS will show us how, even in an area of Chicago well-known for its relative wealth and privilege, challenges regarding poverty and hunger still exist.

Let There Be Pasta!

The Seniors prepared and served the first student-led communal lunch of the school year. As a part of our new community lunch program, each cohort including the faculty will prepare and serve lunch for the whole community. The cooks are presented with a theme or a challenge each month. This month’s theme is Spice It Up. The cooks are challenged to feature one spice prominently throughoutt their meal. The faculty set the bar high with a cumin-centric Indian-inspired meal, and the Seniors met the bar by garnering the power of the mighty garlic in an Italian-inspired spaghetti and meatball lunch. With this lunch program, we hope students will think more critically about the cost of ingredients and the love and work that go into preparing a meal. And of course, cooking and eating together is the ultimate way to build community.

Photo Gallery

Empathy in the Garden

The Juniors in the Design and Engineering class are addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 9 by examining the guiding question, How does design process impact product and experience?. SDG 9 addresses the need for resilient infrastructure, and inclusive and sustainable industrialization and innovation. The designers and engineers are investigating the importance of empathy in design, specifically that of gardening tools in the first unit of the course. As a part of this investigation, the students are learning about the physics behind simple machines and spending time in the garden working with and without tools in order to redesign a gardening tool.

Field Experience

Carrying Water @ The Chicago River

Freshmen in the Water class visited the Chicago River to collect water. In the first unit of this STEAM course, students have been pursuing the guiding question, why is water so common yet so rare? . In their pursuit of an answer, students have been learning about the abundance of water found in living organisms while also investigating the scarcity of potable water that leaves millions of people without clean water on a daily basis.

Why?

The purpose of this Field Experience is to investigate the guiding question, How can you get access to water in case of a shortage or crisis?. The students carried water to connect their water usage to worldwide water shortage.

How?

The students walked to a local public water source, the Chicago River to collect and transport water. At the end of the Field Experience, students measured the amount of water they collected and reflected on their daily water usage.

We’re From GCE

This year, student orientation was framed around the guiding question, Where are you from?. New GCE students were immersed in the GCE model by pursuing the guiding question through Internal and External Investigations, and they went on a Field Experience. They closed out orientation by presenting their Action Projects to the returning students. The new students approached this project with courage and honesty, and the returning students wholeheartedly welcomed their new peers. The week of welcoming and community building was marked with many successes and the air was filled with a sense of hope and possibility. We are so grateful to all our students and families for participating with so much heart and for helping us kick off the school year.