Boone, NC, February 7, 2017 — As 2017 opens the Two Rivers Community School 7th and 8th grade have been busy sharing the many lessons they learned throughout the first half of the school year. At Two Rivers, students and teachers organize Exhibition Nights to present student work to families and friends. The Exhibition Night is a staple of the student experience at Two Rivers, lending students the opportunity to share their ideas and knowledge, while exercising their public speaking and presentation skills.
While Two Rivers is not officially an Expeditionary Learning School, the school does share many of the same values and principles. Kelly Lynn, 7th & 8th grade Language Arts and Social Studies teacher, explains a bit more about Exhibition Nights and the 7th and 8th grade experience:
” Probably the most exciting aspect of the Expeditionary Learning model is the Expedition. But what, exactly, is an Expedition? In a nutshell, an Expedition is something like an interdisciplinary thematic unit but more.
Two Rivers’ Expeditions are based on the NC State Curriculum Standards. They are long-term, in-depth studies that offer real-world connections. They require students to engage in original research, critical thinking, and real-world problem solving.
These skill building activities are structured around specific elements, such as kick-off experiences, case studies, projects, specific lessons, guest experts, field trips and field work, all of which culminates in an Exhibition. The Exhibitions are a celebration of learning. They feature high-quality student work conducted or created during the course of the Expedition.
At TRCS, each grade level has two Expeditions per year. In the middle school, we held our Exhibitions in late January. Our Fall Expeditions are amazing journeys for our students.
The seventh grade fall Expedition is “Winds of Change.” It is all about innovation. The kick-off of this odyssey is a design challenge. Each team is presented with a set of materials and a specific goal. They then compete to see which team’s design best achieves that goal. This year’s challenge was for students to design a water balloon catapult that hits a specified target.
Following this fun are lessons and case studies on topics that include simple machines and physics, the history of how Renaissance inventions led to the Age of Exploration and then to the Industrial Revolution, along with innovations in government, culture, economics, and more.
Science continues with explorations into energy. In literature, we read The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, the true story of William Kamkwamba, a young, self-taught Malawian who changed the lives of the people of his village when he built a windmill to generate electricity.
All of this culminates in the building of wind turbines, which are presented at Exhibition Night. Much like the kick-off, students work in teams. Their goal is to design a turbine with the greatest output of voltage and amps.
We kick-off the eighth grade Expedition, NC FLOW, with a three-day camping and canoe trip led by Nathan Roark, director of Buffalo Cove Outdoor Education Center.
NC FLOW is all about water. We begin in the headwaters of the Appalachians in early September. Our journey ends at the sea, in Charleston, SC in December. Along the way, we conduct studies of water quality in local streams, gain a sense of how waterways influenced the development of towns and industries, and how those towns and industries then impacted the waterways that made them possible.
Students learn about current and past, local and global, social justice issues involving water. They research the varieties of ecosystems within water and even learn how water has impacted our understanding of geological time and history with a study on fossils.
In the end, students present their work to the public with a slide show as they explain the many engaging activities and what they learned from each. This year’s NC FLOW Exhibition was at the Watauga County Library, presented to a capacity crowd in the meeting room.”
Founded in 2005, Two Rivers Community School is a North Carolina Green School of Quality serving grades K-8. It is a tuition-free public-charter school located in Boone, NC under the leadership of a Board of Directors made up of local community members. The Two Rivers curriculum challenges students with dynamic learning experiences both in and out of the classroom. Academics are at the core of every student opportunity with the expectation that students grow in both character and intellect during their time at Two Rivers. This year the school’s enrollment is 175 students. Open enrollment for the 2017-2018 school year begins March 13th. Download your application via the school’s website or visit the front office anytime during business hours. If you would like to learn more about Two Rivers Community School, please contact Beth Vossen at 828-262-5411 or email at [email protected].