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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The purpose of this Field Experience is to gain an understanding of the functions of the different parts that make up an instrument.
Students collected information in order to build their own guitars by speaking with experts at the Chicago Music Exchange.
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.
The purpose of this Field Experience is to dispel myths and to build some cultural understanding of Islam.
Students will visit a mosque and speak to the Youth Coordinator of the Muslim Community Center.
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.
The purpose of this Field Experience is to see the concepts of light waves and how we perceive them come to life.
Students will experiment light using their hand-built pinhole cameras.
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.
The students visited the Plant Chicago to learn about the practical applications of closed-loop systems.
The students explored an aquaponic system and attempted to design their own in order to demonstrate their understanding of closed-loop systems.
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.
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.
Students will work in small groups to find the materials they need.
The students in the Ollywood elective have been investigating the elements of film and film critique. As a part of their investigation, they were challenged to bring famous movie scripts to life. The educators from the Goodman Theater worked with the students and provided each group with some practical tips on script analysis and performance.
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.
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.
Students will walk around Lower Wacker Drive to collect photographs to create their short storyboard.
In the first unit of the Biomimicry Elective, the students have been investigating the guiding question, What would a plant do?. In this course, students are studying the concept of biomimicry through Art & Science. They are investigating diverse case studies of biomimicry that rethink art, technology, and society from the perspective of nature in order to rethink and redesign flawed products. As a part of this investigation, the students visited Interface, a global flooring company whose products are not only inspired by nature but whose production positively impacts the planet.
The students spent the morning touring the Interface showroom and talking to Mikhail Davis, their Director of Restorative Enterprise to learn more about how biomimicry is applied. Our biggest takeaway from Mikhail is that nature has already solved all of our problems, our job is to ask her the right questions to find the solutions.
The students visited Interface to learn how nature impacts not only the design of their products but the mission and philosophy of the company.
The students will talk to Mikhail Davis, the Director of Restorative Enterprise at Interface.
The students in the Innovative School Design workshop have been assigned to think about the design of our new facility. They ventured out to explore a space that could potentially be our new school. As they stepped out of the Roosevelt El station, the students reveled at their proximity to the Metra station, the park, and a handful of their favorite food spots. Upon entering the building, they were greeted by an open loft full of possibilities.
After exploring the interior of the building, the students ventured outside to Grant Park where they got a better sense of their surroundings and a great view of the exterior of the building. They discovered public artworks, a skatepark, and even started to map out their route from home to this new space.
In the final unit of the Water class, the Freshman have been investigating the guiding question, How can you utilize water to predict the weather?. In pursuit of an answer, students have been studying precipitation, cloud formation, greenhouse gasses, and climate change. As a part of this investigation, students visited the Lincoln Park Conservatory which houses thousands of plants that thrive in different climates. Students walked through the Palm House, the Fern Room, the Orchid Room, and the Showroom, all of which were set at different temperatures to best mimic the plants’ natural habitats. The Freshman took this opportunity to measure temperatures and humidity levels, and experienced in an immediate way, how climate change feels.
The Freshman walked through the halls of the Lincoln Park Conservatory, experienced climate change, and measured and collected data on temperature.
Students were guided through the halls by a docent who offered insight on why different plants thrive in certain temperatures and how climate change is effecting plants and animals in their natural habitats.
In the final unit of the Journalism course, the Seniors have been investigating the guiding question, How does photojournalism help you see the world?. As a part of this investigation, students have been examining the works of famous photojournalists to better understand the elements of an effective photograph. The Seniors visited the Gage Gallery at Roosevelt University to view the exhibit, Steve Schapiro: Civil Rights Era Contact Sheets which showcases a collection of enlarged proof sheets from Steve Schapiro’s work during the civil rights era of the 1960s. Steve Schapiro is an American photographer known for his work documenting key moments of the civil rights movement. The exhibit of mostly unpublished photographs provided the students with a unique behind-the-scenes look at photojournalism.
The purpose of this Field Experience is to investigate the guiding question, What’s the meaning of life… in 1000 words and 1 photo?. The students examined the photographs in the exhibit, Steve Schapiro: Civil Rights Era Contact Sheet and talked to Mike Ensdorf, the gallery director and photography professor at Roosevelt University to better understand the role of photojournalists in educating the public.
The students will examine the photographs and gather inspiration for their own photograph.
Hello, I’m a Sophmore at GCE Lab School. Recently, our class traveled to the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, founded in 1857 by the Chicago Academy of Sciences. Visiting the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum was riveting; I left with a whole new perspective and new ideas. I now have a better idea of how taxidermy works and what it can do to advance science. I also better understand how evolution works within species to adapt to its surroundings.
We, the Sophomores, in the Population class, have been studying how and why evolution happens. Specifically, we have been looking at evolution through natural selection. We have been observing different animals since our first unit, in which we chose an animal, observed it at the Lincoln Park Zoo, and learned about its taxonomy. For this unit, we were allowed to keep the same animal or branch out to another, but either way, we are to create a hypothetical situation that forces our animals to evolve. We went to the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum to explore how conservation leads to new discoveries at the Beecher Lab, see first hand the variations between the species at the museum, and how butterflies adapt to new surroundings. To learn more about taxidermy and how it helps science we spoke to Annamarie, a taxidermist at the museum!
Juniors in the Design & Engineering class talked to a bike expert at On The Route Bicycles to learn about the mechanics of bikes and the purposes that different types of bikes serve. On The Route Bicycles is owned by a GCE parent and she strives to run the best bike shop and to do the best repairs in Chicago. In the second unit of this STEAM course, students have been pursuing the guiding question, How do wheels make the world spin?. In their pursuit of an answer, students have been studying the concepts of weight, speed, acceleration, velocity, and mass and their effects on simple machines such as the wheel, the axle, and the pulley.
The purpose of this Field Experience is to investigate the guiding question, How do bicycles impact lives?. The students talked to experts to investigate the evolution of bikes and how they are put together so that they can then design a bike that suits a person’s specific needs.
The students talked to bike shop owner and bike expert, Joanne about the parts that make up a bike, their purpose, and the choices designers make when choosing to use certain parts over others.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Students talked to designer Michael Prince and toured Beyond Design to understand the work of a designer.
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.
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.
In preparation, students learned about the exhibit and its aim to address SDGs 10, 11, and 16.
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.