How does public art create place?
What is the geography of public art?
How and where does public art happen?

Drawing Lines is an Art History Elective that investigates public artworks as a tool for placemaking. What purposes does public art serve? How may art transform public spaces and people’s interaction with them? Who and what decides where public art belongs? How do materials reflect a community’s needs or an artist’s intention? What purpose will your art serve in a community?

In this course, you will explore the history of public art by examining specific public art movements throughout history. Art in public spaces has the power to share stories, educate, unite communities, and impact change on a large scale. This course invites you to examine the purposes and politics behind public art so that you can create your own piece of work that has an impact on the greater community.

For the first Action Project in Design & Engineering, GCE Juniors investigated the following guiding question:

How do we make better tools?

Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

Garden projects like GCE’s are sprouting up all over cities around the country, as urban communities begin to realize how successful and rewarding they can be. The problem is, not everyone has the right tools to make their own garden, and not every tool works for every gardener. Senior citizens are a large demographic of gardeners that often gets overlooked, as manufacturers rarely have them in mind when creating tools. Your mission is to take what you learned about physics, force and leverage, as well as the interviews you have conducted, and create better tools that maximize the output based on the energy put in. Based on the users’ needs and wants, create new designs of common gardening tools to better fit their situation. You will then present your best sketch, as well as a storyboard of it being used, and an explanation of its creation and the physics behind it.

Please click on the tools to open the featured student work.

National Standards: Project Alignment with Common Core Math & NextGen Standards

Modeling as a General High School Standard

HS-PS2-3. Apply scientific and engineering ideas to design, evaluate, and refine a device that minimizes the force on a macroscopic object during a collision.

SRT.B.4: Prove theorems about triangles. Theorems include: a line parallel to one side of a triangle divides the other two proportionally, and conversely; the Pythagorean Theorem proved using triangle similarity.

SRT.C.8: Use trigonometric ratios and the Pythagorean Theorem to solve right triangles in applied problems.

CED.A.4: Rearrange formulas to highlight a quantity of interest, using the same reasoning as in solving equations. For example, rearrange Ohm’s law V = IR to highlight resistance R.

The experience of playing games is universal across ages, spaces, and time. Games can consist of complicated pieces, books, and tables or could be as simple as using your own hands to do the playing. The advancement of technology has allowed video games to come into play in the past 50 years, as well.

In this course, you are invited to a ‘behind the scenes’ look at tabletop games. How do you play and how do you play your best? After a closer look at the playing process, you will try your hand at game design with the ultimate goal of creating your own game from scratch.

Throughout history, humans have been experimenting with pushing our own boundaries. Although the discovery of explosive propulsion gave us a physical boost, the momentum for exploring new frontiers was already in full effect. Over the next term, you will explore the history of rocketry and propulsion, build mathematical models to demonstrate the behavior of bodies in flight, determine content and means of meaningful communication, and then ultimately design, build, and launch a rocket of your own. At the end of the term, you will combine all of your findings into one comprehensive set of results for future studies.

Along the way, you will partake in Mini-Missions; think of these as checkpoints along the way. Not only will they be a place to check for understanding of key concepts, but you will also be able to earn ‘patches’ that will adorn your rocket on launch day for a job well done. You may also use the Mini-Missions to shore up any missing parts with your peers’ and instructor’s assistance. If you need help, you have plenty of resources. We are a team.

One last feature of this course is the inclusion of micro-biographies. Each individual is a pioneer in the individual field and contributed to the lasting history of STEAM studies. The biographies are short and are intended as teasers; there is a further studies list at the end of the course.

In this STEAM elective course, you will learn about and participate in the 21st Century human maker experience. You will look at technology being used today to create products quickly and efficiently, as well as the math and science concepts that allow these machines to work. You will apply these ideas in different scenarios, both low and high tech, creating projects on three CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines – a Cameo cutting machine, a Carvey router, and a Makerbot or Up 3D printer. You will attempt projects using ‘old world’ technology in addition to using these new technological machines, so that you can truly compare your experiences, and understand and appreciate the value of these advancements. We hope that you will begin to see how the future may change because of these technologies and find your path in the creative journey of our future.

For the Stage Chemistry Elective Course, GCE students investigated the following guiding question:

What would my theater look like?

Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

The Goodman Theater partners with students throughout Chicago who participate in their Student Subscriber Series. Each school and each student within the school is challenged to create a theater blueprint for hosting a “sponsored adaptation” of A Christmas Carol. In order to create a realistic blueprint of a theater, students take on and blend the multiple roles of set designer, architect, and executive producer. Student blueprints juxtapose their unique ideas with Goodman’s Albert Theater and demonstrate relationships of scale & proportion through visual and narrative explanations.

Students will create a blueprint of the space to be used as a theater, highlighting the parts that matter most and describing the decision process to create the feel of the theater. The project will be digitally published in magazine form. Comparisons will also be made between the chosen theater and Goodman Theatre itself to show relative size and scale.

Click on the theater blueprint to the right to see the students’ work.

For the Light, Sound, & Time class, GCE Juniors investigated the following guiding question:

Who says you need to buy a guitar?

Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

The Landfill Harmonic has just arrived in Chicago for a one-week stay, and they only have two days before their first concert. Unfortunately, their entire string section lost their luggage at O’Hare airport, so instead of being able to visit families and schools and do workshops in Chicago, they are going to be stuck building new instruments – unless you can help.

Click on the audio tracks to listen to the students’ diddley-bows.

National Standards: Project Alignment with Common Core Standards & NextGen Standards:

HS-PS4-1. Use mathematical representations to support a claim regarding relationships among the frequency, wavelength, and speed of waves traveling in various media.

WHST.11-12.8 Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the strengths and limitations of each source in terms of the specific task, purpose, and audience; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and overreliance on any one source and following a standard format for citation.

HSA-SSE.A.1 Interpret expressions that represent a quantity in terms of its context.

HSA-SSE.B.3 Choose and produce an equivalent form of an expression to reveal and explain properties of the quantity represented by the expression.

For the first Action Project in Design & Engineering, GCE Juniors investigated the following guiding question:

How do we make better tools?

Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

Garden projects like GCE’s are sprouting up all over cities around the country, as urban communities begin to realize how successful and rewarding they can be. The problem is, not everyone has the right tools to make their own garden, and not every tool works for every gardener. Senior citizens are a large demographic of gardeners that often gets overlooked, as manufacturers rarely have them in mind when creating tools. Your mission is to take what you learned about physics, force and leverage, as well as the interviews you have conducted, and create better tools that maximize the output based on the energy put in. Based on the users’ needs and wants, create new designs of common gardening tools to better fit their situation. You will then present your best sketch, as well as a storyboard of it being used, and an explanation of its creation and the physics behind it.

Please click on the tools to open the featured student work.

National Standards: Project Alignment with Common Core Math & NextGen Standards

Modeling as a General High School Standard

HS-PS2-3. Apply scientific and engineering ideas to design, evaluate, and refine a device that minimizes the force on a macroscopic object during a collision.

SRT.B.4: Prove theorems about triangles. Theorems include: a line parallel to one side of a triangle divides the other two proportionally, and conversely; the Pythagorean Theorem proved using triangle similarity.

SRT.C.8: Use trigonometric ratios and the Pythagorean Theorem to solve right triangles in applied problems.

CED.A.4: Rearrange formulas to highlight a quantity of interest, using the same reasoning as in solving equations. For example, rearrange Ohm’s law V = IR to highlight resistance R.

For the first Design & Engineering Action Project, GCE Junior students investigated the following guiding question:

How do we make better tools?

Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

Garden projects like GCE’s are sprouting up all over cities around the country, as urban communities begin to realize how successful and rewarding they can be. The problem is, not everyone has the right tools to make their own garden, and not every tool works for every gardener. Senior citizens are a large demographic of gardeners that often gets overlooked, as manufacturers rarely have them in mind when creating tools. Your mission is to take what you learned about physics, force and leverage, as well as the interviews you have conducted, and create better tools that maximize the output based on the energy put in. Based on the users’ needs and wants, create new designs of common gardening tools to better fit their situation. You will then present your best sketch, as well as a storyboard of it being used, and an explanation of its creation and the physics behind it.

Please click on the tools in the garden to open the featured student work.

National Standards: Project Alignment with Common Core Math & NextGen Standards

Modeling as a General High School Standard

HS-PS2-3. Apply scientific and engineering ideas to design, evaluate, and refine a device that minimizes the force on a macroscopic object during a collision.

SRT.B.4: Prove theorems about triangles. Theorems include: a line parallel to one side of a triangle divides the other two proportionally, and conversely; the Pythagorean Theorem proved using triangle similarity.

SRT.C.8: Use trigonometric ratios and the Pythagorean Theorem to solve right triangles in applied problems.

CED.A.4: Rearrange formulas to highlight a quantity of interest, using the same reasoning as in solving equations. For example, rearrange Ohm’s law V = IR to highlight resistance R.

For the first Light & Sound Action Project, GCE Juniors investigated the following guiding question:

Who says you need to buy a camera?

Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

Cameras get faster and lighter by the day. Nowadays, most smartphones are also cameras, oftentimes as powerful as (or even more powerful than) any old-fashioned cameras. Still, having a powerful camera doesn’t mean being a great photographer, nor knowing how cameras actually work. That’s why the photographer Abelardo Morell decided to take a step back in time, using the “camera obscura” to take his pictures, turning entire rooms into cameras!

Morell posted a challenge to High School students, asking them to drop their cellphones and build their own pinhole camera, which is a smaller version using similar concepts, in order to create images as they used to be created before technology made things so fast. Your camera doesn’t need to be the size of a room (as Morell’s), but just a camera able to produce at least one photograph.

Please click on the film strip to the right to see the students’ pinhole cameras and the calculations they used to effectively take a photograph.

Alignment with Common Core Math & NextGen Standards

CCSS.Math.Content.HSG-SRT.A.2 Given two figures, use the definition of similarity in terms of similarity transformations to decide if they are similar; explain using similarity transformations the meaning of similarity for triangles as the equality of all corresponding pairs of angles and the proportionality of all corresponding pairs of sides.

CCSS.Math.Content.HSG-SRT.B.5 Use congruence and similarity criteria for triangles to solve problems and to prove relationships in geometric figures.

CCSS.Math.Content.HSG-SRT.C.6 Understand that by similarity, side ratios in right triangles are properties of the angles in the triangle, leading to definitions of trigonometric ratios for acute angles.

HS-PS4-3. Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning behind the idea that electromagnetic radiation can be described either by a wave model or a particle model, and that for some situations one model is more useful than the other.
. WHST.9-12.2 Communicate technical information or ideas (e.g. about phenomena and/or the process of development and the design and performance of a proposed process or system) in multiple formats (including orally, graphically, textually, and mathematically). (HS-PS4-5)

How does learning the production process of theater change your perception and experience of the world? How does the narrative power of story come to life in theater? How can you replicate a multi-million dollar theater in your backyard, school, or anywhere else that you choose? In this course, you will look at the theater from the perspective of an architect, stage manager, and set designer in order to apply math and physics to draw out the magic on stage.

For the first Design & Engineering Action Project, GCE Junior students investigated the following guiding question:

How do we make better tools?

Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

Garden projects like GCE’s are sprouting up all over cities around the country, as urban communities begin to realize how successful and rewarding they can be. The problem is, not everyone has the right tools to make their own garden, and not every tool works for every gardener. Senior citizens are a large demographic of gardeners that often gets overlooked, as manufacturers rarely have them in mind when creating tools. Your mission is to take what you learned about physics, force and leverage, as well as the interviews you have conducted, and create better tools that maximize the output based on the energy put in. Based on the users’ needs and wants, create new designs of common gardening tools to better fit their situation. You will then present your best sketch, as well as a storyboard of it being used, and an explanation of its creation and the physics behind it.

Please click on the tools in the garden to open the featured student work.

National Standards: Project Alignment with Common Core Math & NextGen Standards

Modeling as a General High School Standard

HS-PS2-3. Apply scientific and engineering ideas to design, evaluate, and refine a device that minimizes the force on a macroscopic object during a collision.

SRT.B.4: Prove theorems about triangles. Theorems include: a line parallel to one side of a triangle divides the other two proportionally, and conversely; the Pythagorean Theorem proved using triangle similarity.

SRT.C.8: Use trigonometric ratios and the Pythagorean Theorem to solve right triangles in applied problems.

CED.A.4: Rearrange formulas to highlight a quantity of interest, using the same reasoning as in solving equations. For example, rearrange Ohm’s law V = IR to highlight resistance R.

For the Urban Planning Course, GCE Juniors investigated the following guiding question:

How do we build a bridge with minimum resources to support maximum load?

Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

Chicago’s infrastructure is falling apart. Afraid of the backlash that would occur if someone were to get injured, the mayor is seeking designs for a new bridge – but Chicago is in such bad financial shape, he is looking for a simple (cheap) design that will support the most weight using the fewest resources. Your challenge is to create a design that will maximize load and minimize resources.

The rules of the competition are as follows:

Your model can only be made out of two materials: popsicle sticks and glue.

Your team will be provided with 50 popsicle sticks, white glue, and one stick of hot glue.

Your bridge must span a distance of at least one foot.

Your bridge must support a weight of at least 5 pounds.

VM 1: Recognize vector quantities as having both magnitude and direction. Represent vector quantities by directed line segments,and use appropriate symbols for vectors and their magnitudes (e.g., v, |v|,
||v||, v).

G-CO 9. Prove theorems about lines and angles. Theorems include: vertical angles are congruent; when a transversal crosses parallel lines, alternate interior angles are congruent and corresponding angles are congruent;points on a perpendicular bisector of a line segment are exactly those equidistant from the segment’s endpoints.

G-CO 10. Prove theorems about triangles. Theorems include: measures of interior angles of a triangle sum to 180°; base angles of isosceles triangles are congruent; the segment joining midpoints of two sides of a triangle is parallel to the third side and half the length; the medians of a triangle meet at a point.

G-SRT 8. Use trigonometric ratios and the Pythagorean Theorem to solve right triangles in applied problems.

G-MG1. Use geometric shapes, their measures, and their properties to describe objects (e.g., modeling a tree trunk or a human torso as a cylinder).

G-MG 3. Apply geometric methods to solve design problems (e.g., designing an object or structure to satisfy physical constraints or minimize cost; working with typographic grid systems based on ratios).

For the first Light & Sound Action Project, GCE Juniors investigated the following guiding question:

Who says you need to buy a camera?

Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

Cameras get faster and lighter by the day. Nowadays, most smartphones are also cameras, oftentimes as powerful as (or even more powerful than) any old-fashioned cameras. Still, having a powerful camera doesn’t mean being a great photographer, nor knowing how cameras actually work. That’s why the photographer Abelardo Morell decided to take a step back in time, using the “camera obscura” to take his pictures, turning entire rooms into cameras!

Morell posted a challenge to High School students, asking them to drop their cellphones and build their own pinhole camera, which is a smaller version using similar concepts, in order to create images as they used to be created before technology made things so fast. Your camera doesn’t need to be the size of a room (as Morell’s), but just a camera able to produce at least one photograph.

Please click on the film strip below to see the students’ pinhole cameras and the calculations they used to effectively take a photograph.

Alignment with Common Core Math & NextGen Standards

CCSS.Math.Content.HSG-SRT.A.2 Given two figures, use the definition of similarity in terms of similarity transformations to decide if they are similar; explain using similarity transformations the meaning of similarity for triangles as the equality of all corresponding pairs of angles and the proportionality of all corresponding pairs of sides.

CCSS.Math.Content.HSG-SRT.B.5 Use congruence and similarity criteria for triangles to solve problems and to prove relationships in geometric figures.

CCSS.Math.Content.HSG-SRT.C.6 Understand that by similarity, side ratios in right triangles are properties of the angles in the triangle, leading to definitions of trigonometric ratios for acute angles.

HS-PS4-3. Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning behind the idea that electromagnetic radiation can be described either by a wave model or a particle model, and that for some situations one model is more useful than the other.
. WHST.9-12.2 Communicate technical information or ideas (e.g. about phenomena and/or the process of development and the design and performance of a proposed process or system) in multiple formats (including orally, graphically, textually, and mathematically). (HS-PS4-5)

For the first Design & Engineering Action Project, GCE Junior students investigated the following guiding question:

How do we make better tools?

Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

Garden projects like GCE’s are sprouting up all over cities around the country, as urban communities begin to realize how successful and rewarding they can be. The problem is, not everyone has the right tools to make their own garden, and not every tool works for every gardener. Senior citizens are a large demographic of gardeners that often gets overlooked, as manufacturers rarely have them in mind when creating tools. Your mission is to take what you learned about physics, force and leverage, as well as the interviews you have conducted, and create better tools that maximize the output based on the energy put in. Based on the users’ needs and wants, create new designs of common gardening tools to better fit their situation. You will then present your best sketch, as well as a storyboard of it being used, and an explanation of its creation and the physics behind it.

Please find below the online installation we created, featuring some of the innovative garden tools students designed. Please click on the tools to open the student work.

National Standards

Project Alignment with Common Core Math & NextGen Standards

Modeling as a General High School Standard

HS-PS2-3. Apply scientific and engineering ideas to design, evaluate, and refine a device that minimizes the force on a macroscopic object during a collision.

SRT.B.4: Prove theorems about triangles. Theorems include: a line parallel to one side of a triangle divides the other two proportionally, and conversely; the Pythagorean Theorem proved using triangle similarity.

SRT.C.8: Use trigonometric ratios and the Pythagorean Theorem to solve right triangles in applied problems.

CED.A.4: Rearrange formulas to highlight a quantity of interest, using the same reasoning as in solving equations. For example, rearrange Ohm’s law V = IR to highlight resistance R.

Solving everyday problems in innovative ways is a fundamental part of life—but what makes good design, and what are the required steps before building can even begin? Design and Engineering is a STEAM course that focuses on building things well; i.e. structurally sound, efficient, user-friendly and sustainable. You will study designs from history that changed our perception so much that our experience of the world shifted infinitely. You will see where things came from and project where they are going. You will learn to harness empathy to do things better, and not settle for what’s already been done.

How do you sense the world? In Light, Sound, & Time, you will dive deep into your surroundings and how you perceive the world. You will focus on how humans experience light, sound and time. Then, you consider the bigger picture: how do these concepts function regardless of human interaction? You will build a camera, musical instrument, and time-telling device, and explain their functionality through the languages of math and science.

How do you design a shared space to minimize the use of resources and maximize the quality of life? In Urban Planning, you will explore 3 systems that intertwine to create the ecosystem of a city: load, power and flow. These topics will allow you to investigate any city’s major structures; how the city is powered; and how its systems work together to create – or prevent – flow.