A Month of Lunches

The students in Sharon’s advisory bravely stepped up to the challenge of cooking the first month of lunches in our new and improved community lunch program. Under the guidance of Chef Michael McCants and using the MyPlate guidelines, Sharon and her students planned, prepared, and served delicious and nutritious lunches to the whole school! We look forward to learning so much more from Chef Mike and eating more awesome food.

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The Ins and Outs of Collaging

In the first unit of the Population course entitled In/Out, students pursued the guiding question, Where do we fit in?. In this unit, students investigated what and who is included and excluded from a population. As a part of their investigation, they observed organisms both from the inside and the outside, through dissections and a visit to a local zoo, and created their own classification system. The culminating project for the unit was a collage that displays the entire taxonomy of an organism.

The students explored the art of collaging to bring their organism to life. Inspired by the art of Megan Coyle, the students used pages from old magazines to mimic the shading and texture of their animal.

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.

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Youth Climate Strike

A group of GCE students participated in the Global Climate Strike on September 20th. Between September 20- September 27, 7.6 million people took to the streets to strike for climate action. It was the biggest climate mobilization in history! The Global Climate Strike shows that we have the people power we need to create a just world and end the era of fossil fuels. GCE students proudly took part in the Youth Climate Strike in Chicago where thousands of people of all ages flooded the street. It was a powerful demonstration of power in numbers.

Field Experience

Studying the Chicago River on a Water Taxi

In the first Unit of the Water class, the Freshmen have been pursuing the guiding question, Why is water so common yet so rare?. As a part of their investigation, they studied how people from around the world access water; specifically looking at the accessibility of potable water from natural water sources. The students visited the natural water source closest to school, the Chicago River via a Chicago Water Taxi. The Chicago Water Taxi provides transportation options for the city’s commuters by utilizing the resources of the Chicago River. For the students, the ride on the Water Taxi allowed them to experience the city differently as they assessed the cleanliness and potability of the water.

Why?

Students will experience their city in a different way by way of water via a Chicago Water Taxi.

How?

Students will examine and assess the cleanliness and potability of the water in the Chicago River.

Field Experience

Investigating the Economics of Rideshare at the Chicago Lyft Hub

The Seniors in the Economics course have been investigating the guiding question, How do we make choices in a world of limited resources and limited time?. In the course, students learn how to think like an economist while questioning their own ways of thinking in order to understand them better.

In the first unit entitled Growth, students examine the concept of supply and demand, and how companies meet consumer needs while remaining competitive. As a part of their investigation, they visited the Chicago Lyft Hub where specialists work hard to ensure that their drivers and riders are satisfied. Lyft is one of the pioneers of rideshare and the students got insight into what it takes to be a leader in a growing industry.

Why

Explore the concepts of supply and demand by using a real-time market through ridesharing.

How

Students will talk to the ops team and driver liaison to discuss and then plan out a possible strategy to encourage driver use (supply) and rider use (demand).

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These Hands are Made for Tilling…

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 the 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.

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We Dune’d it Up!

We kicked off the 2019- 2020 school year with an epic orientation trip to the Indiana Dunes State Park. We were thrilled to spend the weekend with a group of new and returning students getting to know each other, swimming in balmy Lake Michigan, making s’mores around the fire, and sleeping in tents. There’s nothing like an adventure in the great outdoors to create a sense of appreciation and community.

We are so grateful to all of the students and staff that helped us pilot this program, and we look forward to doing this again.

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Step 1: Speak Up!

GCE Lab School students in partnership with the Newberry Library organized and hosted this year’s Youth Soapbox Debates as a part of Newberry’s Annual Bughouse Square Debates. This is our second year participating as organizers of the Youth Soapbox Debates to provide a platform for young people to speak honestly and provocatively about the political, social, and cultural issues that plague their world. We are proud to help provide this platform for young people in a historically significant place amongst activists of all ages and backgrounds.

Rising GCE Junior, Gimena and GCE Class of 2018 alumna, Shay worked hard all summer recruiting speakers and planning the event. The youth speakers proved that there is power in their voice. Their stories also reminded us that speaking up and speaking out is only the first step to creating a better tomorrow. We are hopeful that under the leadership of these young people, we are on our way to a brighter and safer future.

We’re looking forward to next year!

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We are Master Learners

We embrace the last day of every Spring Term not only as a celebration of the graduating class but also as a celebration of all of our accomplishments as a community. This Spring, students were given the opportunity to present on any experiences whether academic, artistic, political, athletic, or personal that inspires them to be curious explorers of the world. The varied presentations demonstrated that learning can take place anywhere at any time as long as the learner seizes the opportunities. We were proud to see GCE students showcase their growth as master learners.

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Congratulations to the Class of 2019!

Congratulations to the Class of 2019!!! Our 2019 graduates are a group of opinionated, curious, strong-willed young people who are ready to take on the world’s greatest challenges. We are so proud of our graduates’ accomplishments and we can’t wait to see how they impact the world. Thank you to everyone who joined us in celebrating and filling the auditorium with so much love and support.

The Sun Rises in the Yeast

Students in the Food class have been exploring leavening agents and the role they play in our favorite baked goods. They experimented with biological agents and quickly learned to respect the sensitive nature of yeasts and sourdough starters; they are living and require care, lots and lots of care. Most recently, they experimented with swapping out different leavening agents in a biscuit recipe; using buttermilk instead of eggs or using baking powder instead of baking soda. The results were varied but delicious!

Field Experience

Creating Drama at The Goodman Theater

In the Sophomore Humanities course, Drama, the students have been investigating the guiding question, How does drama stage and heal our roles in society?. Specifically, they have been studying how William Shakespeare, Henrik Ibsen, and Lorraine Hansberry used drama as a way to respond to the expectations and treatment of women in their society. In the second unit of this course, students read Ibsen’s A Doll’s House and investigated the role of the “doll” in 19th century Norway. The students were challenged to respond to the play’s main characters, Nora and Torvald in the form of a screenplay. As a part of the creation of their screenplays, the students visited the educators at the Goodman Theater to get feedback on their work and to learn more about how to write effective dialogue and stage directions.

Why?

The purpose of this Field Experience is to get feedback on the screenplays they’ve been working on and to gain an understanding of how to effectively communicate using dialogue and stage directions.

How?

Students will participate in a series of exercises that will teach them how to give and receive feedback productively in order to refine their screenplays.

It’s Formally Spring

We stepped into an Enchanted Forest and danced the night away! Members of our Student Council alongside our Director of Admissions, Laura transformed the Ravenswood Loft into an Enchanted Forest filled with pizza, candy, and music that went all night (well, until 9:00). The students looked stunning in their finest formal wear and danced the night away. We had an absolute blast at our first-ever Spring Formal and we simply could not have done it without the support of our community; huge shout-out to Student Council, Laura, and GCE parents, Betty and Karen!

Field Experience

Going Beyond Our Limits with Sensei Lavin

The Seniors in the Endurance class have been pursuing the guiding question, how much are you willing to endure to change the world?. In the first unit of this Humanities course, students are investigating endurance as demonstrated by well-known visionaries. Through this investigation, students will find inspiration to set goals and identify a mission for their own path. Furthermore, the students are asked to assess qualities that they possess that may help them achieve their mission. As a part of this self-assessment, the students must endure both physical and mental challenges. For this Field Experience, the Seniors were visited by Sensei Lavin who put their mental and physical endurance to the test.

Why?

The purpose of this Field Experience is for students to undergo “boot camp” that tested their endurance.

How?

Under the guidance of Sensei Lavin, the students participated in a series of exercises that pushed them to overcome mental blocks in order to defeat physical ones.

Truss Fall!

During the first Unit of the Urban Planning course, Juniors investigate the elements necessary to build a strong bridge. The engineers studied examples of bridges in order to understand the concepts of weight and force, tension and compression, and trusses. Equipped with their newfound knowledge, lots of glue, and 60 popsicle sticks, they set out to build a strong, functioning bridge. After days of hard work, the bridges were put to the test with a set of weights. This year’s Juniors set the record with the strongest bridge holding over 105 pounds!

Field Experience

Farm to Table at Big Delicious Planet

The Freshman in the Food class has been pursuing an answer to the guiding question, What is the ecology of planting?. In the first unit of this STEAM course, students are exploring what soil is made of and how seasons affect our food through the web of life. Students have assumed the role of farmers and are collecting data to design a plentiful garden. As a part of this investigation, the students visited Big Delicious Planet, a Green Restaurant Certified catering company to learn about sustainability and urban agriculture. Upon entering their canteen, the students were overwhelmed by the delicious smells but they would be much more impressed by the farm and kitchen.

Why?

The purpose of this Field Experience is to learn about the concepts of farm to table, urban agriculture, and responsible production and consumerism.

How?

The students received a tour of the space, from the canteen to the farm and got a glimpse into the work that goes into sustaining a Green Restaurant certification.

Field Experience

Eat Your Neighborhood with Odd Produce

The Freshman in the Food For Thought class have been investigating the guiding question, How are food systems shaped and how do they shape the world?. As a part of this investigation, the students have been studying the Agricultural Revolution which led the class to the question, What would it be like to return to humanity’s roots as foragers?. The students went on an Eat The Neighborhood tour to seek out edible plants in Lincoln Park with Dave Odd from Odd Produce. The experience showed the students that there is food all around us, we just have to know what to look for.

Field Experience

From Farm to Cup at Metropolis Coffee Company

Freshman in the Food For Thought class went to Metropolis Coffee Company’s roastery to learn about the life of the Coffee plant. Students were welcomed into the state-of-the-art roastery where they got a behind-the-scenes look at each step of the process. Metropolis is dedicated to serving a stellar cup of coffee, but what’s even more important to them is respect. Respect is at the core of the company’s philosophy; from farmers to consumers. It was an eye-opening lesson on the effort it takes to be a responsible part of the production chain.

TEDxGCE

This term, we modeled final presentations after Ted Talks to give students a different way to demonstrate their learning. Each presenter was given five minutes in the spotlight to deliver a lecture or facilitate a discussion. We were fortunate enough to practice effective communication and presentation skills from the educators at the Goodman Theater before the day of presentations. Armed with these new skills and the knowledge from their classes, the presenters wowed us with their creativity and eloquence.