“Animals, we are doing this for you!” -Spark Learner
At their end-of-session field trip to a nearby creek, Spark learners were excited to clean up plastic waste in the creek–even if it meant getting their feet wet! In session 4, they will expand on that passion for cleaning the environment and saving animals’ habitats. They will learn about how watersheds work, what kinds of animals live in the creek, and other ways to clean our creeks, bays, and oceans.
Spark learners will also study the continent of Asia in Session 4. They will explore materials from Asia in the classroom, view videos, and hear stories from the continent, and have the chance to join a Saturday family field trip to the National Museum of Asian Art on February 4. They will also start a weekly science series, where learners do hands-on experiments with evaporation, rainbow making, and color mixing.
This session, Discovery learners will step into the shoes of physicists, working through experiments, testing hypotheses, and completing physics challenges to learn about work and force. Learners will explore the six different simple machines, discovering how each type of simple machine makes everyday tasks easier to perform. They will end the session by learning about Rube Goldberg and making their very own Rube Goldberg machine!
The wonderings Discovery learners have about the animal kingdom will inspire this session’s writing workshop. Kicking it off with a trip to the National Zoo, learners will choose an animal to explore, research and write about. As an extension to their studies, learners will have the option of creating a scientific drawing of their animal to accompany their research. At the end of the session, Discovery learners will share their informative writing projects with an in-house gallery walk exhibit for Spark and Adventure Studios to explore.
“What if, every time I started to invent something, I asked, ‘How would nature solve this?'” – Janine Benyus
Adventure learners will consider this question and more this session as they continue their quest to contribute to solutions to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals with nature’s superpower: Biomimicry! Learners will use the expertise they built in Session 3 to continue their exploration of the solutions to some of our planet’s most dire problems that can be found right under our noses – in nature. Learners will take a field trip to the Botanical Gardens to explore examples of biomimicry, interview biologists working in the field of biomimicry from Villanova, UVA, and George Washington University, and create submissions to the Biomimicry Youth Challenge 2023.
Biology will also inspire the Session 4 Communications Challenge, Biologist Biography. Learners will identify a current biologist whose contributions to their field are worthy of being documented. Learners will consider the great responsibility they have as writers, especially as writers of someone else’s story. Whose stories should we have more of in this world? What stories would make the world a better place? What can we learn about ourselves through the stories of others?
The Session 4 Exhibition will feature final submissions to the Biomimicry Youth Challenge and inspiring Biologist Biographies.