In a great finish to the 2022-23 school year, the students of Dietrich Bonhoeffer Academy continued to expand the boundaries of what is possible for middle school learning. Let’s explore some highlights from a fantastic 4th quarter.
In April, the students spent a full day observing the animals and their habitats at the Houston Zoo. At the new Galapagos Island area, the students made connections with previous class lessons on the unique ecosystem there. In particular, they enjoyed seeing the tortoises and penguins up close. We also had an extensive visit with one of the caretakers for the African Painted Dogs. The students heard about the unique characteristics of these carnivores and the efforts to protect them in the wild. Another highpoint of the trip was the capybaras in the Pantanal area. The students were excited to view a mother caring for her young pups. Overall, the students learned some valuable lessons while having a lot of fun at the zoo!
Outdoor Learning Experience
At the end of April, we ventured out to spend several days at Lake Somerville State Park. The students experienced the joys of the outdoor classroom in numerous activities supporting Life Science and other courses. They also gained valuable life lessons by camping and exploring the natural world. CLICK HERE for more details about this amazing trip!
Throughout the spring semester, DBA students have been engaged in several significant projects. In World History, students conducted extensive research on the recent history and contemporary issues of a country. After months of effort, we enjoyed a series of excellent presentations on Argentina, Morocco, Somalia, Cambodia, and the Philippines. The valuable skills developed in this process will be a huge asset to the students moving forward. Likewise, in World Geography, the students accomplished quite an incredible feat. Beginning in January with Africa, they learned to sketch the physical map of the world by hand. After practicing this task almost every day in the spring, they were ready to draw their own map from memory. In addition to greater geographic understanding, the students absorbed a powerful lesson on the results of perseverance. In the end, they are very proud of the marvelous maps they created.
- In English, students greatly enjoyed reading George Orwell’s classic Animal Farm. Classes were filled with lively discussions about the delightful characters and the story. Furthermore, the book study was integrated with our discussion in World History of the events allegorized in the novel. The students also completed an interesting creative writing assignment by composing a eulogy for a loved or loathed figure from the book.
- In Life Science, the students collaborated to create a video on the most memorable science activities from the semester. After planning and scripting their parts, the students filmed each other discussing different labs and activities. During the editing process, they added pictures to provide visuals for their recorded presentations. The project provided a great way to finish with a review of major topics in the class while introducing some film production skills.
- In World History, the students enjoyed several examples of game learning to enhance their understanding of key topics. A favorite was the Democracy vs. Dictatorship Draft. Dividing into two teams, students used information from lessons on global politics to select countries whose political system aligned with their team’s side. The teams then earned points based on the ratings from the Economist Intelligence Unit. It was impressive to see how aware these young people are now about the types of governments in different countries around the world!