Students in grades six, seven and eight at Sussex Academy of Arts & Sciences in Georgetown recently completed their team expeditions. The instructional framework at Sussex Academy is expeditionary learning, with learning expeditions as an integral part of that framework. Throughout the school year, students and teachers are involved in both school-wide and team learning expeditions to promote self-discovery and construct knowledge. During that time, all classes tie into a common theme.
Grade 6 Team Everest’s expedition was Medieval Times. In reading class, students focused on learning new skills with technical and informative reading, with the opportunity to learn juggling, a medieval pastime. They also read the interactive novel, "The Seventh Expert." In social studies, students learned about the feudal system, explored the role of the Catholic Church in medieval Europe, completed a Coat of Arms project, conducted a William the Conqueror Battle of the Bands competition, addressed the concerns of Bad King John and developed the Magna Carta, attended a medical summit to identify the causes of the Black Plague, role-played to learn about the growth of cities and made a flipbook about the development of culture.
In writing, students focused on writing dialogue and created a puppet show that centered on medieval life and times. In math class, students used geometry to design a manor house. As part of the simple machines unit in science, students built and tested catapults. Fieldwork included a trip to Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament in Hanover, Md., and the National Cathedral and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The service project involved collecting food for a local food bank. A medieval fair was held to celebrate the culmination of the expedition.
Grade 7 Team Phoenix explored A World of Difference, focusing on a study of Medieval Times as well. The expedition kicked off with a marshmallow castle-building contest. Projects included a joint social studies and math project, A Castle for Her Majesty; a persuasive writing campaign for writing class; and a social studies project, Sensing Medieval Times Tapestry. In reading class, students read and did activities related to the novel "Crispin."
To study forces that cause motion, in science, students built trebuchets. The fieldwork for the expedition included a trip to Medieval Times. The service project was conducting a book drive for the Lewes Public Library. The showcase included displaying student works and tapestries, a trebuchet competition, juggling presentations, dramatic monologue and board games.
Grade 8 Team Fusion’s expedition, The Power of One! Ideas that Have Shaped America, focused on innovation, exploration, conservation and social justice. In reading class, students made social justice timelines and created newspapers. In social studies, Explorer’s Guides to the West and Innovation Cubes were created. Dramatic tableaux were performed in writing class, and in science students worked on habitat projects and carbon footprints. Fieldwork studying conservation and innovation was completed at Del Tech. Guest speakers discussed civil rights and Native American issues. ILC Dover did a space suit presentation. Service work included trail restoration at Abbott’s Mill, cleanup at Trap Pond, reading to elementary school students at North Georgetown Elementary and delivering flowers to residents at Harrison House. The culmination showcase involved a Museum Walk, displaying the student’s work completed during the exhibition. Dramatic tableaux highlighting historical events were performed.
Sussex Academy will be expanding to include high school grades, and will welcome its first freshman class for the 2013-14 school year. An additional grade will be added each successive year. By 2016, the high school will include all grades, nine through 12. Openings are still available for the ninth grade for next school year. For more information or an application go to sussexacademy.org or call 302-856-3636.