“Real World” Explore Day was in full swing Oct. 16 at Winfield Middle School.
Explore Days have been implemented as part of the Gemini ll initiative. WMS was chosen to be a school to execute the program.
Principal David Hammer said he knew that he had the staff to embrace the change in the philosophy and curriculum and the enthusiasm required to make a program such as Gemini ll successful.
“Our staff makes the program look easy,” Hammer said. “They have always encouraged a deep and lasting engagement in student learning, which is necessary for this type of transition.”
Staff and community came together to epitomize the essence of Gemini ll with sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders. The focus was to engage students and share information and skills that will be useful in everyday life. Teachers chose topics that could open students’ eyes to a variety of applicable information, to tweak their curiosity, and to store this practical information to use in the future.
The total engagement in this undertaking was palpable in all the sessions. When asking students what their favorite session was, there were as many answers as there were sessions. One student said they liked all the topics they attended, but “Dog Care” was their favorite because they loved dogs. The student said that session was informational and practical, and they could not wait to go home and try to teach their dog some tricks.
Winston, Mrs. Niederee’s Aussiepoo, was the star of the session. He was a very good listener, as the students were encouraged to share facts about their dogs.
Hand-in-hand with this topic was Dr. Johnson, DVM, talking to students about animal care from a health perspective. Students asked a multitude of questions. They found that ring worm is not a worm like round worm. It is actually a fungus. “Yuck” seemed to be the word from that information.
Hannah Grammon was an architectural guest speaker. Students were fascinated with the 3D programing she presented. She explained the cost savings that can be had with first presenting a customer with a 3D model. Then changes can be made virtually instead of physically having to change a structure. The program is so realistic that someone was able to identify the actual building they had visited in Wellington as she was presenting the 3D model of it.
Can you name the one natural disaster that can’t be predicted? Students can after they attended Storm Chasing/Emergency Management. Students learned practical actions to put into place before, during and after various natural disasters. The exception, of course, is the unpredictable microburst. It is actually a storm collapsing on itself with up to 125 mph winds.
Students proudly wore their ties after after they learned to tie them correctly. This was a perfect “tie-in” to the session that informed students about how to set a table, along with proper manners while eating. Another session fit seamlessly with this theme, as students learned how to fold cloth napkins into bows, roses, swans and other sophisticated napkin origami. Meal planning was also offered. There was a new appreciation for those meals mom cooks, as students were shown how to meal plan for a week, hunt for recipes and make a shopping list.
Car maintenance, welding as a career, problem solving skills, how to spot misleading advertising, mending clothes, babysitting basics, starting a business, interview for success, how to make friends, banking, and so many more topics were explored. The students took away a wealth of usable information with them from the sessions. As they found out, engagement is the key to learning.