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.


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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

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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.

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.


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.


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.

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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!

Measured Daylight: GCE Students Map an Illuminated Future

In the spirit of real-world learning, two students were on-site to audit available daylight on the third floor of the Randolph Street location we are pursuing for the new home of fGCE Lab School. Using a photometer to measure the intensity of light, a tape measure to identify points of fall off, and a camera to record visual contexts, they created a map to identify locations optimal for classrooms in the 16,000 sq. ft. floor plan. Architects and general contractors were also on-site, giving students first-person insight to how their work and perspective impacts our campus design project.

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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.

Get Your Yearbook!

The 2018-2019 GCE Yearbook has just been sent off to the presses and we can’t wait to share it with our community. We made a lot of memories this year and the yearbook is a great way to celebrate each student’s contributions. We are working hard to ensure that every student receives a yearbook at little to no cost this year. We believe that each student has earned a yearbook to share with their families.

Each yearbook costs $20. Please consider making a donation to our Yearbook Fund. Your contribution helps to put a yearbook in every student’s hands.

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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.


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.


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!

Rock On! 4th Annual GCE Fundraiser was a Hit!

A most epic night, last Friday’s 4th Annual GCE Fundraiser had it all; a mouthwatering spread, totally killer auction and raffle prizes, poetry performances from GCE’s LTAB team, live music from Chris Corsale, an unforgettable performance from Nordic Thunder, and a brilliant community raising money to support students at GCE, where a real-world high school education prepares them for their futures through collaboration and compassion across diverse communities.

We raised over $11,000 to support our mission to deliver dynamic, relevant, and real-world learning experiences to a diverse student body!

A very special thank you to all of our event sponsors:

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.


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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.