Field Experience

Investigating the Language of Resistance with Ugo Okere

I first became aware of Ugo Okere when he was a candidate for Alderman in my Ward, the 40th. In the fall of 2018, Ugo ran as a very young (22) Democratic Socialist, whose campaign attempted to shift the political conversation in Chicago away from the “strong mayor” concept and toward a “power of the people” model. As a potential constituent of his, I found his message compelling because of the thoughtful and reasoned way it presented a challenge to our Ward’s and our City’s status quo.

That fall, I asked Ugo to speak to our juniors about how he was able to put together his campaign and to inspire us to reflect on how we can use similar strategies in attempting to change our own status quos. Although that campaign ultimately fell short, Ugo remains involved in city politics and policy, currently serving as Policy Director for Raise the Floor Alliance, an advocacy group supporting low-income workers fight for better working conditions. This fall, his visit touched upon all of these experiences and gave our students an opportunity to engage in a real-world exchange of ideas that left us feeling like our voices were powerful!

Field Experience

Rapid Prototyping with The James Dyson Foundation

Students in Design & Engineering received a virtual visit from a couple of experts from the James Dyson Foundation. We have a longstanding partnership with the Dyson Foundation, and we are so grateful we get to learn from their experts every year. This year, students were tasked with answering the prompt, “How does design solve problems in your home?”. Under the guidance of the Dyson experts, the students worked in small groups to identify problems they face daily and started to design a product that could address that issue. Admittedly, the process was a bit messy, but according to the experts, that’s precisely the way it should be.

Why?

The purpose of this FE is to learn more about designers and engineers and what goes into those fields. It’s also a chance to apply  “rapid prototyping” to a design challenge.

How?

We will be discussing James Dyson and his Foundation, and what we can learn from it. Then we will apply design thinking to real-world problems.

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

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.