Architecture is designing buildings, open areas, communities, and other artificial constructions, usually with regard to aesthetic effect. It often includes design or selection of furnishings and decorations and supervision of construction work. Humans leave immortal echoes through using the media of language, art, knowledge and architecture. Which is why it is important for learners to learn and explore the world of Architecture - Design & Materials.
In the launch stage, our learners were shown different architectural structures of the world which they had to analyse considering various factors such as: purpose of the structure, materials used, man power required, location selected, budget given, etc. On the basis of above mentioned parameters learners were asked to prepare a report on building their own house leading to the learning assessment. It helped them to learn how we are affected on a practical and emotional level by the way a building appears in its context and by its interior environment.
The Deep Dive stage focused on ecological aspects referring to how buildings impact on the environment and surroundings. It can be positive and negative. Learners had to analyse and prepare reports on the key factors in the environmental aspect, economical aspect & sociological aspect. Northstar Explorations are about authentic learning, skills-based learning in a real-life context, demonstrating to the learners that their learning is connected, relevant, and can have an impact upon the world around them, as well as their future selves We had many experts who shared their knowledge with our Learners. Brinda Shah, a renowned architect, an expert in Vernacular Architecture and professor of architecture, and Tehmeena Panwala, her student and an architect herself, shared their views on local design and materials.
For the Coda stage, learners were introduced with the term Vernacular architecture. It is characterised by the use of local materials and knowledge, usually without the supervision of professional architects. Vernacular architecture represents the majority of buildings and settlements created in pre-industrial societies and includes a very wide range of buildings, building traditions, and methods of construction. Detailed discussion was undertaken with the learners giving many real life examples in the form of case studies such as Bhunga huts of Kutch. Learners explored articles, videos/movies, photos, powerpoint presentations, etc, on vernacular architecture from across the world. They also learnt to look to the future of design and how ideas can be created and implemented.
Diwali is the festival of lights which is celebrated in various regions across India. Also, known by the name of ‘Deepavali’ marks the celebration of togetherness, love & sharing. The name ‘Deepavali’ means an ‘Array of Lights’. To make the students understand the importance of Diwali, The Northstar School had a virtual celebration on 06th Nov 2020. Educators explained the importance of Diwali, the festival spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair.
Diwali was celebrated to actively promote all the aspects related to the festival in the Learners & Educators in an interesting way. At the Northstar School various elements that signified Diwali were put up in the Display Corner. Children had a special festive treat through Make & Much and also made decorations through Art activity. They were also enlightened about all the historical events that took place for which Diwali is celebrated.
The concept of, “Say No to Crackers” was also explained with its disadvantages. Children were told to celebrate Diwali in an environment friendly manner. Learners also learnt that Diwali celebrations are spread across five days, with each day having its own significance and set of rituals.
Learners shared that the lighted lamps-lighting the lives of people, the prayers and pujas creating an atmosphere full of goodness and purity, the festival of Diwali indeed fills the atmosphere with an aura of goodness and a heaven like atmosphere.
Both Learners & Educators enjoyed the Diwali celebrations wholeheartedly.
Human History is the description of humanity’s past. With civilizations flourishing, ancient history saw the rise & fall of empires. Civilization is a topic that helps learners have a better understanding of our past. It is with that aim our learners of grade 7 & 8 were transported in the historic & prehistoric era. They explored ancient civilization, providing them insights into why & how history has unfolded & flourished in different parts of the world at different times.
The Launch stage focused on relating ancient civilizations to humanities & social sciences. It helped learners understand the economic and political commonalities & differences among cultures, people & the environment. Learners were also introduced to the concept of Archaeology, its purpose & its process.
In the Deep Dive stage, learners made a comparison matrix to show the differences between civilizations in the past and in the present. The beginnings of civilizations as well as basic elements that make up civilizations are essential to learn. For example, some elements of the current world, such as class divisions, government, economics, religion & geography, all relate back in some way to ancient civilizations. So, starting from the past & working their way forward in history is a great way to understand how past & present are tied together.
One of the most difficult things in learning ancient civilizations is creating a program that makes historical study interesting. However, the topic was concluded with a very interesting learning experience. The tool used to assist learners to visually see the progression of the world was visual art. The exploration of ancient civilizations started with the individual & gradually moved outward; self, family, their community, their state, the country & finally the world, which ultimately helped them understand the interconnectedness of our past and present.
October 15, is a very special day in Indian history. It was on this day in the year 1931 that Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, the former president of India who made our country a missile & nuclear power, was born in Rameshwaram. A great scientist, he saw the dream to make India a developed nation. APJ Abdul Kalam’s love for students is reflected best in his own words: “Dream, Dream, Dream! Dreams transform into thoughts & thoughts result in action.” To commemorate his immense love for science & students, we at Northstar celebrated it as Science Day.
The core principle of Science day was to instil in students love & passion for science. We decided to celebrate it by conducting hands-on activities and experiments virtually with guidance from our educators. It also developed curiosity in learners to correlate the class learning to their daily life activities.
Science day was celebrated to promote active involvement of learners & educators in science related activities & experiments. Moreover, it allowed learners to develop inquiry based thinking, critical thinking, ignited burning questions within them when they performed various experiments & hands on activities. Our main purpose was to let them observe, analyze, interpret, explore & develop their own perspective.
The aim of each experiment was that the students should communicate information in a clear, concise & meaningful manner to broaden their knowledge, thinking and develop varied perspectives. Critically, they filtered information, analysed content & evaluated resources.
Immense creativity & varied perspectives poured in to develop experimentation skills. We desire that learning should be lifelong and self-motivated.
The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow. The world, as we know it, is rapidly transforming and becoming increasingly digital. Media has incredible power to influence our attitudes, behaviour, and habits. It is essential to be media literate, to develop cognitive, aesthetic and moral awareness as we interact and consume mass media messages. It is with that aim that we’re educating our learners so they can adapt to the changing scenario.
We began by introducing the term media & different types of media. After a detailed discussion on the topic learners were made to evaluate individual type of media tools with various characteristics and were made to compare and contrast, leading to their assessments. For example, learners were critically made to understand different media types i.e. print media, broadcast media, internet, etc
The idea was to acquaint them that the choices of the medium and the messages conveyed influence our attitudes and opinions. Learners deep dived to understand pros and cons of media consumption. They were able to observe, analyse and evaluate different biases as well as strategies used. They understood how it influences consumer mindset.
The exploration was concluded with the objective of planting a seed of being a responsible member of the virtual society. Learners understood their rights and responsibilities while considering the pros and cons of the virtual world.
Explorations are central learning experiences at The Northstar School. We explore deep and meaningful topics in multi week projects. One such Exploration was Stories which we conducted with our 3rd and 4th graders.
Humanity has always inherently known that people crave and seek out great stories as much as they seek food and water. Stories communicate meaning and help form connections and perspectives. At the outset, learners were exposed to the history of the stories and storytelling. They read stories and watched films. They learnt to gain insights on the myriad feelings and emotions these stories evoke, and the value they bring to our lives. The idea was for them to understand stories and analyze/interpret them through basic story elements.
Based on their previous understanding of analyzing a story through story elements, the learners were then exposed to the process of developing/crafting an effective story. The sessions were dedicated to developing stories through effective story mapping/planning followed by crafting a story on a story prompt. As an end result/outcome, learners developed their own picture story book.
At last, learners were exposed to learning different ways and means (media) through which stories are created and shared. The sessions were dedicated to understanding stories through newspapers, images (in form of paintings, photos, photo essays) and moving images (in form of movies, documentaries, TV commercials, and TV serials). Also, we also discussed stories being told through plays, radio as well as through emerging narrative practices on digital platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. The objective was to acquaint learners with several media through which stories are shared and to understand and observe the differences between the nature of stories shared through these media.
All in all, the topic aimed at engaging learners in meaning-making activities surrounding the topic of stories to render a joyous and meaningful learning experience.