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Field Experience

Examining Our Truth @ Poetry Foundation

Students in the Poetic Justice course visited the Poetry Foundation to investigate the guiding question, “What story is yours to tell?”. In the first unit of this Humanities Elective course, students have been studying, analyzing, and critiquing political poetry from a range of poets discussing local and global issues. In addition to looking at the poets’ political message, the students have also been examining their utilization of poetic devices to help get their message across.With a draft of their own political poem in hand, they headed to the Poetry Foundation where Amy Lipman led them through an exercise that challenged them to re-examine their own writing. Amy led the students in an examination of documentary poetry and poetry of witness and they were posed with the question, “Is the story you are telling, yours to tell?”. The students dissected different styles of writing and took some time to re-read and revise their own poems.
Field Experience

Machines vs Humans @ mHUB

Students in the Rapid Prototyping course visited mHUB to investigate the vast possibilities of rapid prototyping. mHUB is Chicago’s innovation center for physical product development and manufacturing. The students have been investigating the guiding question, What can machines do that hands can’t?. In the first unit of this course, students have been investigating the line and concepts such as, networks, slopes, intercepts, and angles as the foundation for all things that are built. At mHUB, our host, Bria showed us around the impressive facility and explained the uses of different spaces, tools, and machines. During our tour, we met engineers who talked in-depth about different types of machines, we met designers working on prototypes for products getting ready to launch, and we met artists creating their masterpieces. It was a truly eye-opening experience to see the possibilities and essentially, the necessity of rapid prototyping in the 21st century.

Field Experience

Art as a Weapon @ Gage Gallery

Students in the Poetic Justice course visited Gage Gallery to view the Nowhere People: The Children exhibit. The students drew inspiration from the photographs in the exhibit to write an ekphrastic poem and a persona poem. In this Humanities Elective course, students have been pursuing the guiding question, How may poetry be a tool for political reform?. In their pursuit of an answer, they have been studying, analyzing, and critiquing political poetry from a range of poets discussing local and global issues.  As a part of their investigation, they examined the photographs of Greg Constantine and investigated how photography as an art-form can tell the stories of those unspoken for.
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¡Vamos a Bailar!

The students in Spanish have been studying Flamenco. Flamenco is an art-form based on the folkloric music traditions of Southern Spain. Learning a new language is far more effective when paired with the study of culture and tradition. As a part of their examination of Flamenco, Spanish teacher, David Comas invited GCE Freshman, Nissrine, and her Flamenco teacher to perform and to show the students some basic moves. What an exhilarating way to start off a Tuesday morning!

Teaching to Our Passions

Welcome to Elective Term at GCE! Elective Term is a time for teachers to teach to their passions. Our teachers have been working hard to develop these courses all summer and they are so excited to share what they’ve created with the students. This term, the cartographers and historians in Thin Red Lines will learn how to use maps to save the world. The designers in Rapid Prototyping will examine the role of MakerLabs in solving real-world problems. The poets in Poetic Justice will discover their voice as political poets and unite people through their poems. And the engineers in Rocket Science will examine the history and the Math and Science of rocketry in order to build their own rockets.
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Our First Visit to St. Vincent

We spent the first Wednesday of Elective Term volunteering at St. Vincent de Paul Center through the Blessings in a Backpack program. Blessings in a Backpack mobilizes communities, individuals, and resources to provide food on the weekends for elementary school children across America who might otherwise go hungry. We completed our first service project with St. Vincent earlier this school year when we created motivational cards that went into the bags of food that went home with the students.It’s been a couple of months since then and we’ve been looking forward to our next opportunity to volunteer with St. Vincent. For this Community Day, we took a stroll up to St. Vincent to fill bags with food and to meet some of the students who would receive the bags. We got to work as soon as we got there. Some of us worked on an assembly line packing the bags and some of us went down to the classrooms to play with the students. We are so grateful for this partnership and we can’t wait until we visit again next term.
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Experience Our Learning

For this Fall Term’s Final Presentations, our guests were challenged to investigate two guiding questions, How did we get here? and Where are we going?. With these two guiding questions in mind, the guests visited students presenting from their Fall term courses and experienced what it’s like to learn like a GCE student. Our presenters were also challenged this evening; they did not simply share their knowledge, but they were tasked with facilitating the guests’ learning and investigation.At the end of the evening, there was a palpable sense of community and shared achievement. Thank you to all our guests who were open to learning with and from our students.
GCE Student and Teacher
November
14

November Open House

Come learn about our philosophy, our curriculum, our culture and come see what makes our school so unique. You’ll get a tour of our interactive classrooms, meet our teachers and students, and get a sense of a truly unique learning experience. Come see what we’re all about!

Please direct any questions to our Director of Admissions, André Gill, [email protected] or 312.643.0991.
GCE Lab School is an independent private high school that cultivates global citizens in a collaborative and caring learning environment. Our model delivers hands-on educational experiences designed to connect academic coursework with real world context. 50% of our students receive scholarships, ensuring a diverse school that unites students and communities across Chicago.Learn more about GCE Lab School Start an Application
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Until It’s Clear

The Freshmen in the Water class are studying the water cycle. In the process, students learned that infiltration is an important part of the cycle because as the water passes through layers of soil and sand, it is filtered and purified so it can be consumed. Using that information, students built water filters to address the guiding question, how would you cope in a water crisis?. As a part of this investigation, they studied pH levels and how to determine if water is potable. Ater they designed and built their filters, the students attempted to turn non-potable water into potable water.
Field Experience

Design with Empathy @ Working Bikes

Juniors in the Design & Engineering class talked to bike expert, Andrew at Working Bikes in Pilsen to learn about the mechanics of bikes and the purposes that different types of bikes serve. In the second unit of this STEAM course, students have been pursuing the guiding question, how are bikes designed and engineered to solve specific problems?. 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. To gain a better understanding, the students visited Working Bikes where they prepped bikes to be transported. Working Bikes gives new life to discarded bicycles and distributes them as tools of empowerment to local and global communities.On the day the students visited, a shipping crate was waiting to be filled and shipped to the Kingdom of Lesotho in Africa. Andrew, the volunteer coordinator at Working Bikes showed the group how to prep the bikes and they got right to work. The experience was informative and extermely humbling.

Why?

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.

How?

The students talked to bike shop employees about the parts that make up a bike, their purpose, and the choices designers make when choosing to use certain parts over others.
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Cooking with Homa Shojaie

Students in the Cooking workshop received a cooking lesson from visual artist, Homa Shojaie. Ms. Shojaie taught the students that cooking is definitely an art. There are certain procedures to follow and certain tools that make the task easier, but at the end of the day, intuition and passion make a dish extra special and delicious. Ms. Shojaie gave the students the tools, ingredients, and knowledge to make herb kuku, a baked omelet traditionally served on New Years in Iran. The green herbs symbolize rebirth, and the eggs, fertility and happiness for the year. Thank you to Ms. Shojaie for a cooking lesson that taught us a lot more than just cooking.
Field Experience

The Power of Design @ 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?

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.
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Simple Machines with Sean Shaffer

Sean Shaffer, parent of Junior, Maeve came into the Design & Engineering class to teach us about the power of simple machines. Mr. Shaffer has a background in design and is an educator for the Chicago Park District. He came equipped with tools that demonstrated the physics of the lever, the pulley, and the wedge. The students have been pursuing the guiding question, what lies at the heart of our fundamental drive to create tools?. As a part of this investigation, the students identified scenarios and problems in which tools make a task easier and determined that simple machines are at the core of most tools.Sean brought in the Lever-tator 3000, the Bully Pulley 3000 (both machines that he built himself!), an ax and wedge, and a crazy-cool chair pulley that all brought the physics of these simple machines to life. The highlight was a pulley system that allowed the students to pull themselves off the ground! Thank you to Mr. Shaffer for making physics so much fun.
November
2

Final Presentations: Fall Term

Join us for Winter Term Final Presentations, the best way to experience learning with our students as they share their discoveries from the past term. The event will include opportunities to learn more about GCE’s curriculum, engage in activities planned and facilitated by GCE students, and to see for yourself why Action Projects demonstrate student mastery
Field Experience

Assessing Risk @ Capital One Café

Seniors in the Economics class met with a financial consultant at the Capital One Café. In this STEAM course, students are pursuing the guiding question, how do we make choices in a world of limited resources and limited time?. In the first unit of this course, students have been analyzing the value of risks, taking into consideration time, cost, and utility. As a part of this first unit, students have also been calculating and assessing the value of college. The experts at Capital One Café stressed the importance of short- and long-term goal-setting, saving for emergencies, and finding happiness and balance in all of it.

Why?

The purpose of this Field Experience is to investigate the guiding question, how do you determine value?.

How?

The students will talk with a financial consultant at Capital One Café to learn more about value, utility, and risk.
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Making the Cut

The Sophomores in the Population class are studying classification and taxonomy. In the first unit of this STEAM course, students are investigating systems of classification, how they came about and how they caused a scientific revolution. As a part of this investigation, students dissected crickets to examine similarities and differences between their bodies and ours. Despite some initial hesitation, everyone eventually got the hang of it and collected valuable information from the specimen.
Field Experience

Rhetoric of Revolt @ The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Living Memorial

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.

Why?

The purpose of this Field Experience is to investigate the guiding question, how does rhetoric inspire and unite?.

How?

The students learned about both the history that led to the Chicago Freedom Movement’s protest march and the movement to preserve the memory of that action with the Living Monument.
Field Experience

Lunch is Served @ Lincoln Park Community Shelter

Freshmen in the SDGs & You class cooked and served lunch to the guests at the Lincoln Park Community Shelter. In this Humanities course, students have been pursuing the guiding question, how can everyone have access to resources that meet basic human needs?. In the first unit, students are investigating Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and are using that information to argue for the conversion of one of these needs into a human right. The Lincoln Park Community Shelter serves people who struggle meeting needs throughout Maslow’s spectrum; the students spent one meal attempting to aid them in meeting their physiological needs for shelter and food.In preparation for this Field Experience, students researched basic human needs for calories and nutrients per day. Using that information, students researched available food options from local grocery stores, created a budget, and shopped within that budget to cook and serve this meal.

Why?

The purpose of this Field Experience is to investigate the guiding question, how do we know when basic needs are met?.

How?

The students planned, shopped for, cooked, and served a meal to the guests at the Lincoln Park Community Shelter.
Field Experience

The Physics of Gardening Tools @ 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.