Skip to main content

NOTICE: The Charter Vision project is dormant as of January 2008. This website is provided for archival purposes only.

What’s Up Didaktoras? A 6/7 Learning Expedition

Jenn (Grade 07 / Schoolcraft) Originally published February 2005

It’s the beginning of a new school year, which means that Schoolcraft’s 6/7th graders participated in a Building Background Knowledge Workshop (put together by the courtesy of Marilyn, Jim, and Sara, the 6/7th grade teachers at Schoolcraft). This is a workshop where students learn about the upcoming expedition, and this fall, the expedition is entitled, “What’s Up Didaktoras: Ancient Civilizations.”

The day began with students arriving at school and walking to their individual classrooms. After the classes were through with their morning activities, all the 6/7th graders, along with their teachers, went up to Paris (the lunchroom) to begin learning about their expedition. First, everybody was put into groups of five or six, and the groups were assigned their seats. Once seated, the groups each received a picture of all the planets, and pictures of each of the Greek gods of which the planets were named. Each groups’ task was to match the gods to their planets. The challenge was that the groups received no additional information regarding either the gods or the planets…so there was lots of guessing! After the teachers observed the process for a while, Sara Breeze (the 6/7 Language Arts teacher) helped us out. She told us all of the gods’ names and a little information about their personalities. The groups became more confident about their task and were able to match most of the gods to their planets correctly. Jim Conway (the 6/7 Science teacher) then gave us some details about the planets.

The next component in this workshop started with each individual receiving at least one Greek myth to read. Each student also received two question sheets on which they could write any questions that came into their mind about their assigned myth. Once through reading, all students recapped their myths within their group. The group compiled what they learned from the myths on a piece of chart paper. The next step was each group writing down all the questions they wanted answers for in Math, Science and Language Arts. Each group read their questions to the entire audience, and the teachers are going to do their best to make sure that all our questions are answered within our expedition studies.

Our workshop continued with everyone watching a movie titled “Daedalus and Icarus.” It was about how Daedalus made wings for himself and his son in order to fly away from an island. Icarus died trying. The movie was followed by time to write questions from the movie, and we then shared our questions with the teachers…to be answered through our expedition.

“I learned that some sun spots are bigger than the earth!” said Grace Lymburner, a 6th grader in Jim’s crew. “I learned that there is a god for each planet, and I learned myths about the gods,” said Anjali Phukan, a 7th grader in Jim’s crew.

The next day we continued discussing the gods and the planets, and we also did some teambuilding through cooperative games. That was the end of the Building Background Knowledge Workshop, but the next day brought even more fun!

All of the 6/7th graders took a trip to Hibbing, Minnesota, for a final kick-off to the expedition. They traveled to a planetarium to fill their brains with even more knowledge about the planets. The narrator’s name was Mark, and since Schoolcraft teaches French to its students, Mark narrated part of his presentation in French!

The first show that we watched was about all of the planets and what was on/not on them. For instance, some planets have air and are very cold, and some don’t have air and are very hot. The next presentation was about how NASA sent an exploratory rover up to Saturn 7 years ago, and it’s just arrived there. The movie talked about the plans NASA had for the rover’s future. The students then had lunch and some free time to look in the gift shop. After lunch we went back into the theater to watch one last movie entitled, “Solar-Max.” This movie was about the sun. Before actually watching the movie, everyone had some fun with Mark, or should I say, that Mark had some fun with the audience…He said, “In order to take over the world, you’ve got to have an evil laugh.” So, whoever wanted to laugh evilly in his microphone had the chance to do it. Then we watched the movie. Following the movie, we rode the bus back to Bemidji.

I think that this was a good way to try to get students involved and interested in what they will be studying.

Comments are closed.