22 June 2023

Experiential Learning

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Experiential Learning
Experiential Learning
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Let’s all take a deep, deep breath, hold, hold and gently exhale. Yes, you can feel the release of tension; the summative tasks have been submitted, the feedback has been received and the comments have been proofread. As the assessment cycle takes a pause, our Middle School students have been engaged in many experiential learning opportunities. These activities focus on students learning by doing and reflecting on their experiences.

The following student reflections and photographs will give you a flavour of Middle School learning in action.

This week all Year 7s have been embracing Enterprise Week and Illuminate Education Australia’s Community Challenge to design a solution to help progress one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Last week, Year 7 Art students were working with street artist Tinky Sonntag and her miniature figurines on the Transformative Repair project.

‘It was really good. I liked working in a group of people I don’t usually work with. It was cool working with broken things and giving them a new story. Our environmental statement made me feel like I had achieved something.’ (Bella)

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Year 8 Changemakers recently met with Al Cooper from Bulleen Art and Garden. They heard about the North East Link and the impact its construction has had on his business and the environment. Earlier in the semester, Changemakers also visited CERES for hands-on Pollution Solution workshops.

‘There were many acts of sustainability at CERES, such as a recycled-materials playground, a compost, a worm farm, an eco-friendly garden, biodegradable packaging and an edible coffee cup made from grains. We learnt about the sustainability cycle. For example, how cotton first gets picked for a shirt, then a shirt is produced, worn and then dumped. We learnt how waste contains many valuable and precious materials, like gold, silver, copper and nickel that come from mobile phones and this really made me think.’ (Oliver)

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All Year 8 students participated in Calibr8, a day of introductory activities to introduce careers, study skills, and their upcoming experiences to Hattah and to Rural Victoria.

‘Calibr8 was a good day to get us thinking. Careers workshops were a really good chance to see options that I hadn’t thought much about before. In Police Law, I was the magistrate and I had to make the decision. I went for the maximum sentence of two years prison, even though the class voted for avoiding a criminal record by a community service order. In Medicine, we tested a classmate’s blood pressure …they were dead! The Digital Marketing workshop involved designing a campaign for a useless product. I did a ‘watch without time’. It was an entertaining activity that made me think about the power of marketing.’ (Jaaneka, Cerys, Sass and Christos)

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The C-Change program is central to the experience of all Year 9 students. Each theme day (Care, Compassion, Consideration and Connection) is spent in experiential activities designed to provide knowledge, engagement, empathy and challenging conversations.

‘Wheelchair basketball with Peter really made us listen carefully. We got some insights into how much of a struggle it was for someone with a disability to play basketball. It put us in their shoes. The Jells Park excursion was designed to make us work together as a group. Jells Park is a really big place and that made orienteering really hard work as all the trees and bushes looked the same! The First Nations Spiritual Healing Trail in Darebin Parklands was very educational. We took park in a smoking ceremony and wandered along the trail. We heard First Nations stories and symbols and learnt about some plants and their uses.’ (Zara, Indi and Estelle)

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Many Year 9 electives provide ‘learning by doing’ opportunities. Art students have been working with Kerrie Poliness creating the Middle School Centenary art installation; a collaborative drawing mixing drone technology with broom handles, chalk and rope and the Find Your Passion Showcase afternoon let the students become the experts as they explained their passions to their parents.

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The Indigenous Studies students found their excursion to NGV and Birrarung (Yarra) River to be a powerful thought-provoking day.

‘I've had an amazing experience in Indigenous Studies over the past few weeks. We've had incursions, excursions, and even camp opportunities – this elective has it all! Just two weeks ago, we went to the National Gallery of Victoria, and it was a truly unforgettable experience. We were particularly interested in the Aboriginal artworks, which had incredibly deep meanings that we didn't fully appreciate until we took the time to watch and listen.’ (Noah)

‘It was eye-opening and heartbreaking to see the loss of culture visually, which is something that this exhibition did so well. I thought it was a great experience that provided our class with a deeper insight into First Nations cultures and the importance that art plays in this.’ (Grace)

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What, no photos or write up about the ultimate experiential learning experience of Oliver!, the Middle School Musical? No way, you need to rush to the final performance tonight and experience it yourself!

Wishing everyone a safe and relaxing holiday.

Meredith Plaisted
Deputy Head of Middle School – Student Learning

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