Campbell students have improved the quality of their work
as they strive to solve real-world issues through expedition.
As expeditions have been created and revised overtime, the problems, essential questions and products have been designed to increase authenticity and address a real-world issue. High Quality Work Protocols have helped teachers reflect and improve their practice. By examining student work, we noticed a need to plan more deliberately with the end in mind, use rubrics, checklists, and models to create a clear vision, embed more rigorous writing assignments which pertain to the expedition focus, and create more authentic products. The evolution of our expeditions is testament to our growth in these areas. At Campbell, we continue to seek out meaningful work in which students are motivated to “do good work” and serve the greater community. Expeditions are designed with acts of service or solving a real-world issue at the heart of the content. Campbell students continue to produce high-quality work that is deeply connected to a relevant audience or community need.
Kindergarten: Past and Present Expedition
Understanding the differences between the past and the present has long been the focus of one of Campbell’s primary expeditions. The expedition was originally called “Old Days, New Days.” Students visited historical places, listened to grandparents who came to school and spoke about their experiences and studied famous people from the past. Final products often involved students drawing a picture or sharing a memory of something from the past that resonated with them. Their efforts solidly addressed kindergarten standards and required students to use higher-order thinking skills to evaluate the importance of changes from past to present.
Recently, the expedition was revised to end with a case study about comparing play in the past to play in the present. With this focus, students practiced the skills involved in cooperative play and following directions. The experience inspired students to hone in on a specific problem they wanted to solve, such as how sometimes people get into arguments on the playground instead of having any fun.
Students used authentic drawings and photos to help create their direction booklets for other Campbell classes after working in groups to define the game’s steps. They shared their products and some of the games at Community Meeting. The shift in the expedition enabled kindergarteners to see that they, too, can make a valuable contribution to the Campbell community confirming their work matters because it is helping to solve an authentic problem which they identified.
Grade 1: Mapping Expedition
Historically, the first grade expedition has focused on mapping and diversity, however, the expedition did not provide a rich problem solving opportunity. While creating maps of their classroom or the Campbell playground helped them to meet teaching standards, they did not provide the level of inspiration we were striving to achieve.
In 2017-2018, students embarked on a journey into a new mapping expedition called, “Around the Town”, which focused on mapping standards and provided an opportunity to apply problem solving skills in the creation of a product. The expedition also reflected our school’s movement toward local expedition topics. Students began by mapping familiar places such as their classroom and the school prior to going out into the community. The expedition was a Campbell collaboration with a non-profit subsidiary of the Arlington Transit System (ART), Car Free Diet. This collaboration enabled students to learn mapping skills as well as the environmental benefits of riding public transit in their own community. Click image for larger view.
Students used their local bus system to learn the rules of the bus, the stops it makes, and how it improves the environment. They developed bilingual bus maps for the local bus route. The maps which outlined cost, accessibility, environmental benefits and the safety of public buses, were shared with both the school and local communities. In addition, students learned about informational writing throughout the unit which culminated in written pieces which explained how a community member can ride the ART Bus. Campbell students’ expedition work was featured in an APS Green Scene video https://www.apsva.us/post/campbells-art-bus-project-featured-green-scene/ .
(Click image for larger view.)
Grade 2: Scientific Investigation → Nutrition Expeditions
In 2014-2015, 2nd grade students were engaged in a science expedition in which they learned about using the scientific method to solve problems in all content areas. In its first year, the culminating project involved different partners who paired up to conduct an experiment assigned to them. They wrote up all the elements of their experiment to present at the showcase. In 2015-2016, instead of assigning experiments to partners, students participated in a variety of class experiments and then were tasked with the challenge of creating their own question and experiment.
In the 2016-2017 iteration of the expedition, students designed trellises to hold up the plants in the Campbell gardens. Each year, the product evolved to become more authentic.
In 2018, the students kicked off a new science-based expedition focused on nutrition which provided an opportunity for even greater authenticity. The 2nd graders observed other grade levels in the cafeteria and collected data on their eating habits and preferences. Experts gave presentations on healthy habits and the benefits of eating locally-grown food. Students visited the local farmers’ market, interviewed farmers, collected data about prices, and bought some items to cook using a healthy recipe. Their experience prompted them to promote healthier eating at Campbell and in our community. They researched and created posters about Arlington Farmers’ Markets and hung them around the town. Each student also created a reusable shopping bag which included a message about the importance of healthy eating.
The posters inform community members about local Farmers’ Markets as an alternative to grocery store shopping. Above, one of our Farmers’ Market posters continues to be displayed in the greater Arlington community.
In 2018-2019, the 2nd graders decided to take the expedition in a slightly different direction by researching different stores their parents frequent based on surveys they conducted. They learned about how people make food choices, and created a circular to help families find the best price for foods they most often purchase. This was very authentic in that it directly impacted Campbell families.
Grade 3: Learning Through History
In 2015-2017, students raised community awareness of the rights and freedoms provided by our Constitution by creating calendars for families with original drawing and writing.
Calendar of Rights and Freedoms 2015-2016 Calendar of Rights and Freedoms in which students created found poetry about freedom using words from The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution reorganized by students to create poems.
Calendar of Rights and Freedoms 2016-2017 Calendar of Rights and Freedoms in which students encapsulated the importance of each right or freedom for community members to appreciate.
In 2017, the state changed the history objectives for 3rd grade, and our expeditions changed with them. Their new expedition now includes learning targets related to ancient civilizations instead of America’s founding fathers. In 2017-2018, the expedition “Trade on the River” allowed students to see the link that rivers provide in helping create a great civilization. Students researched countries, their important rivers and the cultures that grew there. Then they created a written piece about that location and included a recipe from that country with ingredients native to that place.
In 2018-2019, the EL Work Plan evolved to include a focus on authentic service learning. Third graders learned about five ancient civilizations as part of their “Walking Through History” expedition. They Skyped with an archaeologist at an excavation site in Corinth, Greece to better understand how scientists study what life was like in the past. They learned about artifacts from ancient times and wondered about what future generations would discover about our civilization today based on what we are leaving behind. Students decided to collect trash in the surrounding neighborhoods to see what “artifacts” people are leaving behind in the form of litter. They would also improve our community as part of the Campbell Way principle “I Serve.” Students collected 15 bags of trash and sorted out the recycling before disposing of it properly.
Students noticed concentrations of litter in certain areas. To debrief, students imagined what future archaeologists may infer about our lives and values based on the litter. Classes discussed the juxtaposition between the legacy we are leaving for future generations and the legacy for which we would like to be remembered. Students brainstormed ways to change our community’s habits based on our findings. This project represents the evolution of Campbell expedition work which focuses on solving local, authentic problems through service learning.
Grades 4 and 5: Making Connections to the Real-World
Recent expeditions now include authentic problems or a local focus. Several fourth and fifth grade expedition projects have had a local impact, developing a sense of place and making real world connections. Examples include:
- 4th graders made connections between students attending a new classroom or school and Jamestown settlers moving to a new colony.
- 4th graders created a greenhouse on Campbell grounds and several cohorts of students have used it to cultivate organic herbs used in a variety of recipes.
- 5th graders created professional placards for the school grounds highlighting the organisms with the most local impact in our school community.
- Authentic audiences such as the Smithsonian Community of Gardens have been accessed to allow students to impact the community beyond Campbell and encourage others to see the benefits of gardening. (Smithsonian site)
Campbell students continue to impact the local community and solve problems through expeditions and service learning.