Thursday, September 20, 2012

Metrolink Expedition, part 1

I titled this post "part 1" because it indeed is just that: it's the first part of our expedition in explanations and pictures, presented by me.  Part 2 will be the same thing: the Metrolink Expedition, but from the students' perspectives in the videos and art pieces that they are currently working on in social studies this week (so stay tuned for those!).

First off, I just want to exhale a big sigh of relief: the night before our expedition the forecast looked grim: severe thunderstorms with damaging winds and hail.  Eeek.  Not exactly ideal for an outside expedition and lunch in Forest Park!  Somehow, by a stroke of luck, the rain and storms held off till Friday night and we had a perfect day for our Metrolink expedition.

And for those of you who aren't familiar with St. Louis' mass transit, the Metrolink is part of Metro Transit in St. Louis, which is similar to a subway or elevated train you'd find in other big cities.

We spent the entire day before our expedition in social studies prepping for our first expedition of 7th grade (and first expedition for the students in general).  We went though this presentation, which detailed almost every aspect of our expedition and our mission.  The students were then put in small groups where they were assigned two stations that they would identify all 5 themes of geography (remember MR. LIP???) and then compare and contrast both stations using the 5 themes.

Like our Bellefontaine Cemetery Expedition last year with the current 9th graders, this was a completely mobile expedition: there was no pen, no paper, and no workbook: it was all done digitally using iPod touches.  Students were given the directions loaded as an iBook onto their groups' two iPod touches and set off to identify the 5 themes of geography at their two different Metrolink stops.

We were fortunate this year and had a representative from Metro there following us around all morning and afternoon seeing exactly what our expedition entails.  We've been doing this expedition (or modified versions of it) for the past 10 years at MRHMS, and it was great that Metro came out to take part in our learning and exploring of the city and its transportation system.

Our principal Dr. Dillon put together a great compilation of all of the teachers' tweets and pictures from the day, so if you'd like to check that out CLICK HERE.

Wow, overall, this was an amazing expedition and a fantastic day.  The students did an amazing job of not only following our expedition's mission in regards to their behavior, but they completely surpassed my expectations of information collecting and exploring of the stops.  They got some amazingly detailed responses captured by their group members and took some really great photos of all of the stations and the vast diversity and similarities between them.  Below are some snapshots from the expedition itself, but the real showcase of this expedition will be in their art and video projects, which I hope to blog about in the next couple weeks.  So for now, enjoy these expedition pics!

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