Real World Learning In Action at THS High School

 

 

As the excitement of term one comes to an end, our high school students are gearing up for STEAM Week - an annual event much like Arts Interim where the high school focuses on weeklong intensive STEAM workshops, displaying outcomes on STEAM Night on Wednesday 27 November which is open to the THS community. 

 

This year’s STEAM theme is Go Green and Sustainably and we are very much looking forward to the many exciting projects designed for our high school students for STEAM Week as well as activities planned on STEAM Night. 

 

One of the goals of STEAM Week is to reinforce and cement the concepts and skills students learned from Term 1 and to apply them in trans disciplinary project-based classes during STEAM Week. For that, it is important to reflect back on some of the skills and experiences students have had this term. 

 

THS High School’s Math teaching team consists of Mr David Pudder, Dr Sam Crickenberger and Ms Katherine Montgomery who teach Geometry, Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Precalculus and Calculus classes. As with many classes at THS, there is an emphasis on problem-solving, teamwork and collaboration in High School math classes which students will be expected to bring to the table to solve the STEAM challenges that await them. 

 

Our High School course catalog is designed to cater to the interests and passions of our High School students so even in our often demanding science classes, we have designed them to be engaging, challenging, and always using real-world learning framework. Our science courses on offer are cross disciplinary, requiring our multidisciplinary teaching team to collaborate by bringing in expertise from another field. For example, this term’s Physical Science class required our students to already have Algebra 1 concepts firmly in their grasp. In Fizzy Fizzy, Bang Bang we studied the elements, compounds, cause and reactions, used chemical equations and examined exothermic reactions in order to find out what chemical reactions causes things to go boom. By looking through real life science and practical applications of science, students have  been developing their scientific enquiry and research skills in these two classes. 

 

In Beautiful Data with Dr Crickenberger students have continued this theme of scientific enquiry and has been developing investigations and focusing in on the importance of how data is presented and manipulated in a science context. 

 

Concepts in science, math, art and engineering are also used in Sustainable Art, a course led by Ms Kat Lee. Students have run a clothing drive to recycle, upcycle and reuse preloved clothes donated by students and staff while researching into the socio-economic and environmental impact from the clothing industry. 

 

Still on the theme of sustainability, Ms Rodionova led students on a journey through time, looking at patterns of human migration, structure of societies and the origins of civilisations in Man vs Nature. Students analysed current trends in global production in an overpopulated planet and studied the many issues arising from human impact on the environment. Come to STEAM Night to hear some of the innovative solutions our students came up with. 

 

A feature of our high school program is learning on the field. Students have had many opportunities to apply their knowledge on various excursions and field trips relating to their course. Just this week, 30 high school students visited the MS Fastidious currently docked in Central Piers. It is the world’s largest solar-powered catamaran which works with Waste Free Oceans Foundation to collect trash that litters the ocean’s surface using a giant trawling net and studying the data to inform scientists on marine debris.

 

The courses on offer at High School STEAM Week:

  1. Bill Nye 2.0: In this course, students will complete a series of short science demonstrations and create all pre-production materials (storyboard, script, etc.) in addition to planning, executing, and filming their demo. This course will have two deliverables - one being a collection of demos that groups film and the second actually performing your demo during STEAM Night in November.

  2. Capturing the Urban Jungle: In this course we will explore a number of ecosystems in Hong Kong including rocky intertidal, mangroves, and forest, learn about the basic underpinnings of each ecosystem, and attempt to capture the natural beauty of each through sound, photography and video.  At the end of the course students will present their effort to capture the natural beauty in a format of their choosing. For those more artistically inclined students might create soundscapes, paint with colors captured from nature, have a screening, or present their work as a gallery show.  For students whose interests take a more of a scientific bent, they can create a photo ID guide, use photography, video, or sound to capture data to answer a specific question, or do a photographic species survey

  3. Sub Aquatic Hong Kong: Students will build an artificial structure for habitat restoration. In teams they will choose a marine ecosystem in Hong Kong to rehabilitate, designing an artificial structure in accordance with current research about that ecosystem and deploy.  The students will work in their team to construct and place the structures in a designated area near campus in Hong Kong. This will become part of the first monitoring system for THS for further middle and high school research. Artificial reef structures can be not only functional but also beautiful and eye catching. 

  4. Instrument Design: Students undertaking this course will have the opportunity to build a variety of instruments using cutting edge and ancient methods to experiment, push design boundaries, and explore how shapes and materials create sound. Examples could be, but are not limited to percussion, wind or string instruments that can be used together to create a musical ensemble.

  5. Water, Water Everywhere / Nor Any Drop to Drink: Students in this class will scout out locations around Hong Kong and test the water quality using indicators such as oxygen content, nitrates, and ammonia. The students will not only engage in the testing process, they will also learn what professions would need to test water, why, and the science behind setting up such tests. They will then use their data to draw conclusions about the water quality of each of these locations and assess reasons for this based on the geography of each of the locations. 

Each of these projects will involve high school students feeding back to the THS community on STEAM night and presenting their work and findings. From our well-equipped makerspace to Marine Science facilities to incorporating STEAM projects in classrooms across disciplines, these initiatives underscores The Harbour School’s mission of developing a love of learning in each student, challenging them and providing them with opportunities to further their interests through real world learning.

 

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