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This inspiring story of learning illustrates beautifully the excellence and thoughtful quality of a Garden School education. This is the value of independent school education. This is the magic of Garden School. Enjoy…

“Over the holiday break, the 8th grade English class read October Sky by Homer Hickam, a memoir about the coming of age of a future NASA engineer. This reading is integrated with the 8th Grade science curriculum unit on rocketry and the principles of propulsion. By integrating study across disciplines, student learning gains context, meaning and deeper understanding, and also builds communication and collaboration capacities as well as critical and creative thinking skills.

This week in English, students are preparing group presentations based on October Sky. Students chose literary or science based topics. One group is designing a model rocket and is involved in discussions of guidance systems, payloads and capsule size, as well as the merits of various propulsion systems. Another group is researching the history of the space race and its political overtones. The literary groups are preparing teaching units about the themes of the book, using power points, bubble charts and dramatic reenactments, as well as follow-up discussion points to share with their classmates.

We had an “aha!” moment when one student realized that just as the protagonist in the book needed a team and mentors with different talents to help him succeed, her group represented kids with different abilities who could contribute their various strengths to the project. “Is THAT why we do so many group projects? It’s kind of like life?”

Eureka! She’s got it!

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