E26 and E25 have been learning about warm and cool colours in their X Block art sessions.

They have a really good understanding of this, as you can see from their work!

E25 Inter-Crew competition

The weather may have scuppered our normal plans today but it didn’t dampen our spirits. We took the opportunity to run our first inter-crew competition of the year. E25 students competed fiercely in their Danish Longball contest (a mixture of cricket and dodgeball). Points were up for grabs for good sportsmanship, good individual play and, of course, for winning games. Crew Turing ultimately emerged victorious after some outstanding play by all!

E25’s first day back

While students up and down the country will be returning back to classes next week, XP East’s E25 returned on Tuesday to embark on a week long expedition, allowing them to re-immerse themselves in our school’s culture. Mr Brown kicked off the day with a community meeting centred on the incredible achievements of X21’s GCSE results. The underlying theme we noticed in the reasons for their success was crew, so we moved on to our guiding question for the week:

How crew are you?

Five weeks is a long time off, we had a lot of catching up to do in morning check in. Spending the first day back is fundamental, it allows time for us to familiarise ourselves with the support network we have built last year. We reviewed what had worked so well in the first year, and what we were going to do this year moving forward.

In session 2, we got stuck in with a crew challenge, where we had to build a tower from straws and other materials that would stand unassisted for a whole minute. Sadly, no crew managed it (it is very tricky to execute!) but the conversations that were had afterwards were reflective and really allowed students to unpack their role in the activity.

We often use the phrase ‘no pilots, no passengers’ to ensure that every person in crew is guaranteed a role. Listening to my crew analyse points where they may have taken over too much or when they were passive shows how much they’ve grown since year 7. We took the reflections from the tower session into the inter-crew competitions.

We spent the afternoon in the sports hall completing mini challenges as crews. I noticed a real difference in how well my crew cooperated in this session from the tower session. Students were giving others pointers and tips. I saw students encouraging others, sharing water, offering help with degunge. This afternoon, while it was fun, was also really valuable in reestablishing what crew is all about.

Some admitted to feeling nervous or worried about what challenges might lie ahead in year 8, with them no longer being the youngest in the school. We’ll tackle them together this year as crew. What was pretty lovely about that first day though, is that during check out, every member of crew said they had a really great first day back. Can’t wait to hear their reflections on ‘how crew’ they are on Friday!

  • What is the difference between a meter and a metre?
  • How could we use two straws, an elastic band and two paper clips to find the mass of an object?
  • How is mass related to weight?

All this and more will be revealed at our STEAM Presentations of Learning on 10th and 11th July (click here for further information)

Family are invited to come along and find out from our student experts, but expect to be asked about your own learning!

In our STEAM lessons this week, Year 7 have been grappling with the concept of speed, distance and time.  We have been using constructivist principles of learning to develop understanding, by kicking the week off with a practical investigation outside, measuring the time and distance travelled when we walk fast or slow.

We then discussed the relationships we could see in our data and some data generated from the ‘Marbleympics’ 5m sprint.  We noticed that when the speed changes, the time and/or distance change and there is a direct relationship between this; ultimately we deduced the equation:

In today’s session Explorer were applying this by substituting our own data, with the challenge being to use the equation in unfamiliar contexts – check out Faith’s attempt at four of the challenge questions on the photos below!  The level of engagement in this task was excellent, and not only did I have a lot of verbal praise to give individuals, as well as the class as a whole, but we also had a spontaneous round of applause!  Zak was using purple pen to remind himself of how to improve his calculations next time, and Caiden and Sami got their heads together to see where they went wrong in their calculations and correct them.

We also tried out some new more flexible seating arrangements to support us in building our confidence; as we experiment we find we have different skills and qualities to offer one another in our problem solving and all students engaged really positively in the process.  I loved Marshall’s quote, particularly as he had rated his confidence at the beginning of the lesson as a 1 out of 3, but at the end of the lesson he said “this is a breeze now!”

Our learning focus this week has been to keep trying to get ‘unstuck’, even when we are grappling with something new or a concept we can’t quite get our head around; at XP East it’s all about getting to the top of the next ‘mountain’.  That’s why we have a new quote on the wall from Carl Sagan:

When you make the finding yourself, even if you’re the last person on Earth to see the light, you’ll never forget it“.

Yesterday during community meeting Mrs Poncia asked X25 about their highlight of the week, and I amongst other members of my crew struggled to pick! We have just six weeks left of this academic year, it is wild to think how quickly my crew’s first year at high school has passed and how much we’ve crammed into 2018-2019.

Both staff and students are winding up to the grand finale of the STEAM and Human expeditions, where they will be working on final products and preparing to share their learning in a presentation of learning. In STEAM, they are continuing on with ‘Escape Earth’ and yesterday their new Human expedition was announced.

On Tuesday X25 visited the Jodrell Bank Space Observatory, which is home to the UK’s largest radio telescope and the 3rd largest in Europe! Each student was immersed in workshops and classes that allowed them to discover elements of our universe, experience Newton’s Laws, and watch real accounts of the astronauts that visit the Space Station. I’ve uploaded the video file above, check out the incredible resources and facilities that we had access to!

We will be taking the lessons we learned from the specialists back into school to help answer the expeditions guiding question:

“Should humans leave Earth?”

With growing reports of the danger that climate change poses, and the scientific advancements in the technology that could allow us to potentially re-locate our species to another planet, X25 will be concluding what they think the future for our species and our home will be. I can’t wait to hear their responses.

I chose the backing track for the video from an album I really love by a band called Public Service Broadcasting, I was struck by this line that was originally part of a JFK speech from 1962:

We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things
Not because they are easy, but because they are hard”

I’m taking this particular message back to crew this week. We will be encountering difficulty over the next six weeks with deadlines. We will be setting up Student Led Conferences over the coming weeks, to reflect on and review this years work. We will be finalising products and developing our presentations of learning. It may be the last few weeks, but as per every other day we spend at XP East, I hope that each of my 12 crew members recognises that despite this work being hard, it is also extremely important, and that working hard, getting smart and being kind is fundamental if we are to achieve.

ADVANCE NOTICE:

E25 (Y7) students are in the middle of their current expedition, Escape Earth, exploring the guiding question: “Should humans leave Earth?”

Over the course of three case studies, they will have studied Earth’s ‘postcode’ and position in the universe; the impact humans are having on the Earth today and the physics behind building and launching a rocket to leave Earth.  They will be ready to share their learning with you on the following dates:

7 Pioneer: Wednesday 10th July, 5:30-6:30pm.

7 Explorer: Thursday 11th July, 5:30pm-6:30pm.

We look forward to seeing you and thank you for your continued support.

E25 will be on fieldwork on Tuesday 4th June. 

Please make arrangements for your child to arrive at school no later than 7:45am and be collected around 5pm.  

The fieldwork arrangements are as follows:

  • All students to arrive at school by 7:45am for a prompt departure at 8am.
  • Students will need to bring a packed lunch and bottle of water (no glass bottles or fizzy drinks or sweets.)
  • Please bring any prescribed medication required, clearly labelled in a plastic bag or envelope with your child’s name and required dosage.  This includes travel sickness tablets where necessary as we will be travelling via coach for approximately 2 hours.
  • Sensible clothing, coat and shoes need to be worn (we will be outside for part of the day)
  • Students will return to school at approximately 5pm – although we will post updates on the website and social media.
  • If any parents would like to know the destination of our fieldwork or have any questions, please contact me at jtownson@xpeast.org

Many thanks for your support.

During our current STEAM expedition E25 were fortunate to meet three students from Tapton School in Sheffield who have built their own satellite!  Emily, Emma and Sam visited us as experts for Case Study 1 of our Escape Earth expedition, as we have been looking at the structure of the universe, galaxies and our solar system.

In addition to their A Level studies at Tapton, our experts have taken part in a six month engineering project, run under the Engineering Education Scheme (EES) run by EDT and supported by an electronics company called ARM.  They were given a microprocessor and a £200 budget, which they decided to use to build and program a small satellite.  They had strict parameters to fit within and had to create something which would be viable in space.  This took a great deal of planning, problem solving and research, as well as using Computer Aided Design (CAD) software, using a 3D printer for 19 hours during their residential at Sheffield Hallam University and showcasing their work at a Science Fair to industry experts.  

E25 are well into Case Study 1 of our new STEAM expedition Escape Earth now and we are already looking ahead to our next fieldwork activity.  This will be on Tuesday 4th June. 

Please make arrangements for your child to arrive at school no later than 7:45am and be collected around 5pm.  

The arrangements are as follows:

  • All students to arrive at school by 7:45am for a prompt departure at 8am.
  • Students will need to bring a packed lunch and bottle of water (no glass bottles or fizzy drinks or sweets.)
  • Please bring any prescribed medication required, clearly labelled in a plastic bag or envelope with your child’s name and required dosage.  This includes travel sickness tablets where necessary as we will be travelling via coach for approximately 2 hours.
  • Sensible clothing, coat and shoes need to be worn (we will be outside for part of the day)
  • Students will return to school at approximately 5pm – although we will post updates on the website and social media.
  • If any parents would like to know the destination of our fieldwork or have any questions, please contact me at jtownson@xpeast.org

Many thanks for your support.