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.

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).

Field Experience

Creation Stories with Lily Be

In the first unit of the Stories course, Creation, students explored stories from a variety of cultures that try to provide answers to the questions: Why does the world exist?, How did it come into being?,  and Why are we here?.  As a part of their investigation, students looked for unique creation stories from their own lives. Chicago writer, storyteller, teacher, podcaster, and performer, Lily Be helped the budding storytellers identify those stories and gave them tips on how to effectively develop and tell them. Lily turned the experience into a game, granting the audience members points for asking questions that further developed the stories. The students learned more about each other and about the art of storytelling.

Why?

Students will learn to recognize their life experiences as stories worthy for sharing and will learn how to share their experiences in an effective and engaging way.

How?

Students will reimagine the idea of the creation story and work with a storyteller to identify, develop, and refine their own stories.

Field Experience

Meeting Human Needs at Lincoln Park Community Service

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 Service 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?

This week we will travel up Halsted to the Lincoln Park Community Shelter to prepare a meal for and eat with the residents of LPCS. In addition to providing service, we will be thinking about our studies of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the situations in which we might consider human needs to be more properly human rights.

How?

Students are responsible for planning both bagged and hot lunches for 35 people while staying within budget. Students are tasked with taking Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs into account as they determine what foods will go into each meal. Finally, students will prepare and serve lunch as they eat and talk with the residents of LPCS.

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.

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.

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.

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

Studying Ecosystems at Patchwork Farms

The Freshmen taking Food have been pursuing the guiding question, What does a balanced ecosystem look like?. In the first unit of this STEAM course, students are investigating the types of organisms and the interactions between those organisms that are necessary in order to sustain a healthy ecosystem. As a part of this investigation, students are studying the importance of companion plants, especially when sustaining a farm in a limited amount of space. To gain more insight into how farmers make the most of their space, the students visited Chicago Patchwork Farms, an urban farm in Humboldt Park. At the farm, the students learned more about the make-up of soil, worked with their hands, and even met a couple of chickens.

Why?

The purpose of this Field Experience is for the students to see an urban farm and to learn about what it takes to sustain one.

How?

The students will tour the space, ask questions, and do some actual work to learn firsthand about farming.

Field Experience

A Test of Endurance

Seniors in Endurance are investigating the journeys of endurance of historical fictional and non-fictional heroes. They are tasked with answering the guiding question, How do you endure mental and physical challenges? by actually facing enduring tests. As a part of this investigation, the students embarked on a transformative journey within themselves with the help of Preston Klik, who demonstrated instruments used for sound meditation and led the meditation for the group.

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.

Field Experience

The Truth Behind MPG at Tesla

In the second unit of the Fuel class, the Freshmen have been pursuing the question, How does matter become energy?. In pursuit of an answer, students have been studying the equations for work and power, the differences between kinetic and potential energy, and how to set up mathematical functions using word problems. Students visited the Tesla showroom to learn about the mechanics of the most efficient battery-powered vehicle on the market. We talked to the resident expert, Dave who educated us about what miles per gallon really means, and how battery-powered cars blow fossil-fueled cars out of the water in terms of efficiency. Tesla recently released a more affordable model giving more people the opportunity to lower their carbon footprint.

Why?

The purpose of this Field Experience is to see the real-world relationship between energy and transportation, as well as what is possible for energy-efficient vehicles in the future.

How?

At the end of this Field Experience, students will understand Tesla vehicles’ relationship to energy. They will have had engaged in conversation with an expert to understand where energy comes from, how it is transmitted, and how efficient Tesla cars are.

Field Experience

Experiencing Sound at the Chicago Music Exchange

In the second unit of the course, Light, Sound, and Time, the Juniors have been investigating the guiding question, What does life sound like?. As a part of their investigation, they have been examining how sound travels, how we hear sound, and how we make and control sound. At the end of this unit, the students will use the culmination of their learning to construct their own guitar. In order to do this, they visited the Chicago Music Exchange to gain a better understanding of the anatomy and the acoustics of a guitar.

Why?

The purpose of this Field Experience is to gain an understanding of the functions of the different parts that make up an instrument.

How?

Students collected information in order to build their own guitars by speaking with experts at the Chicago Music Exchange.

Field Experience

Defining Dogma at the Muslim Community Center

The Sophomores in Forbidden Books have been investigating the guiding question, How are minds fanaticized?. Specifically, the students have been examining why books have been forbidden for dogmatic reasons through the study of The Bible and The Koran. As a part of their investigation, they visited the Muslim Community Center to learn more about the history and tenets of Islam from their Youth Coordinator, Aminah. Aminah shared insight on her own connection to Islam and the difficulties of teaching Islam to Muslim youth because of its portrayal by the media.

Why?

The purpose of this Field Experience is to dispel myths and to build some cultural understanding of Islam.

How?

Students will visit a mosque and speak to the Youth Coordinator of the Muslim Community Center.

Field Experience

Looking Through a Pinhole

The Juniors in Light, Sound, and Time have been focusing on light and investigating the guiding question: What would life look like without light? . In order to illuminate answers to this huge guiding question, students are examining how light could be captured and manipulated. As a part of this investigation, they built and experimented with pinhole cameras to better understand the role of light and time in creating photographic images. The class visited the darkroom at the Latin School of Chicago and met with photography teacher, Betty Lark Ross to learn more about the power of light.

Why?

The purpose of this Field Experience is to see the concepts of light waves and how we perceive them come to life.

How?

Students will experiment light using their hand-built pinhole cameras.

Field Experience

Closing the Loop at The Plant Chicago

In the third unit of the Biomimicry Elective, the students have been investigating the guiding question, What would a fungus do?. In this unit, students have been investigating fungi and their role as decomposers in order to rethink their definition of waste. The students are drawing inspiration from fungi and other decomposers’ ability to recycle nutrients to turn linear systems into circular systems to design their own closed-loop systems. As a part of this investigation, they visited the Plant Chicago whose mission is to make healthier and more efficient cities by developing and sharing the most innovative methods for sustainable food production, energy conservation, and material reuse. The students got a first-hand look at an aquaponics system and the practical applications of closed-loop systems.

Why

The students visited the Plant Chicago to learn about the practical applications of closed-loop systems.

How

The students explored an aquaponic system and attempted to design their own in order to demonstrate their understanding of closed-loop systems.

Field Experience

Want Not, Waste Not at The WasteShed

Students in the Game Changers Elective have been pursuing the guiding question, How do game components come together?. In this unit of this game design course, students have been examining the different physical components that make up a tabletop game. They investigated the fundamental design of boards, cards, and moving pieces in order to design and build a game of their own. As a part of the creation of their game, they visited The WasteShed Creative Reuse Center to find recycled materials to build a prototype of their game. The WasteShed is dedicated to providing Chicago with an organized, affordable, and reliable resource for repurposed art, craft, and school materials.

Why?

The purpose of this Field Experience is for students to buy materials to build a prototype of their original board games while learning to find value in repurposed materials.

How?

Students will work in small groups to find the materials they need.

Field Experience

Location Scouting @ Lower Wacker Drive

Students in the Ollywood Elective have been pursuing the guiding question, What makes a movie a movie?. In this course, students have taken on the role of a film critic and are learning to evaluate films based on 3 stages of production: pre-production, production, and post-production. As a part of their investigation of pre-production, students have been learning about the role and creativity involved in scouting locations for film settings. For this Field Experience, students were given the opportunity to propose a location worthy of the time of a location scout.

There were lots of great pitches for locations, including:

  • Cairo, IL: as the location for a post-apocalyptic film depicting society in ruins;
  • the Merchandise Mart: as the location of an action film with a chase scene on a bridge;
  • the Bahá’í House of Worship: as the location of a medieval romance;
  • Pratt’s Castle (Elgin, IL): as the location of a medieval romance;
  • Oz Park: as the setting of a Disney family film

And there were more! The ultimate winner, though, despite the frequency of its use as a setting — in films such as The Dark Night, Batman Begins, Wanted, and The Blues Brothers — is Lower Wacker Drive. So the students explored the different landscapes of Lower Wacker Drive and captured photos to visualize the story they want to tell.

Why?

The purpose of this Field Experience is to investigate the guiding question, what is the role of a location scout?. Students will familiarize themselves with the role of the location scout as one part of the pre-production process in the making of a film. Students will also create a short storyboard demonstrating their understanding of the responsibilities of the scout.

How?

Students will walk around Lower Wacker Drive to collect photographs to create their short storyboard.