The environment comprises all the natural resources such as air, water, land, forests, and minerals. It is our duty to protect the environment and its natural resources. Nonetheless, due to technical advancement and other reasons, there is rampant misuse of these natural resources, leading to land degradation, water pollution, air pollution, and deforestation. All these factors lead to worsening of the environment.
With an aim to understand the importance of the environment and the far reaching effects of non-violent environmental movements, learners of grades 5 & 6 were introduced to the topic, ‘The Chipko Movement.’ Chipko movement, also called Chipko Andolan, was one such non-violent social and ecological movement, aimed at protecting trees and forests slated for government-backed logging by rural villagers, particularly women, in India in the 1970s.
Learners understood what are different environmental problems, causes and their effects. Various ecological movements such as the Bishnoi movement, Appiko movement, Silent Valley movement, Fisherfolk movement, Tehri Dam movement, etc. were discussed and analyzed for better understanding. Major literature pieces in the form of poems and movies were talked about. Open discussions on environmental justice and other issues were held.
Dhaval Vargiya, programme officer with Centre for Sustainable Conservation Action for Protection of Ecosystems of the Seas, Tata Chemicals Initiative, was invited as a guest speaker to deliver a talk on importance of environmental conservation. He in his talk gave awareness of the impact human actions have had and still have on the planet and its inhabitants, and gave suggestions on implementation of sustainable, environmentally sound methods towards the development of mankind.
By the end of the explorations, learners appreciated the importance of correcting the damage caused as well as preventing future destruction.
Explorations are the flagship learning experiences at The Northstar School. A lot of time and thought in designing and delivering complex, broad and meaningful learning experiences is spent. Over the last 5 years we have designed dozens of explorations. This year, we have completely rethought and redesigned our Explorations approach by organizing it in a way which is even more relevant and connected to learners' lives. Northstar's design principles are central to all our learning design. While brainstorming what we could take up in one of the themes that we explore ‘Discoveries & Inventions’, we came up with a curious topic: Anaesthesia and Enigmatic Experiences of Anaesthesia.
Many of us might have experienced anaesthesia. What is it? How was it invented? What does it do for us? What are anaesthetic experiences? What was the history and the process of surgery before anaesthesia was invented? It is an incredibly rich source of bank of questions. Our Educators & learners of grades 7 & 8 are diving into the world of Anaesthesia. In order to understand Anaesthesia and its medical and enigmatic experiences learners explored various articles, videos and case studies.
At Northstar, we strive to create platforms and opportunities where our learners get exposure and learning beyond the classroom and books. We were delighted to welcome Dr. Hetalkumar Vadera (H.O.D., Dept Of Anaesthesia - Sterling Hospital, Rajkot) as a guest speaker, with his many years of experience in the field of Anaesthesia his session opened up learner’s minds to medical experiences and impacts of Anaesthesia.
Different anaesthetic experiences other than the medical experiences were also explored such as stopping of movement, induced sleep, reduction of pain. While exploring the idea of experience connected with anaesthesia, we could connect to what it means to feel pleasure or pain. Learners explored the concept of pain and pleasure through various compare & contrast activities.
Explorations at Northstar are like that in a way; inducing pleasure by the joy of discovery, while at the same time interlaced with the pain of confusion and effort caused by complex ideas.
Classical Indian Art consists of a variety of art forms. It has a magical quality that automatically transports one to a bygone era & makes it come alive. Indian Classical Art is an amalgamation of different cultures, ancient customs, traditions, food, fashion & so much more. To have each learner of grades 3 & 4 experience the inspiration & mysticism embodied in Indian Arts, the topic of 'Classical Indian Art' was introduced.
Art is an expression made visible by a form. Art is an expression: an expression of feeling, belief, and character. Every organism survives because they can communicate and express themselves to their own or other species. Art channelises one's expression through colors, materials, text, etc. And the liberty to choose from these channels helps the artist to convey better. Learners learnt to appreciate and analyze different art work on different parameters. They also learnt to express their emotions by creating an art of their choice. Various reading materials, videos, audios, ted talks, etc. were explored to have in depth knowledge and better understanding of the topic.
We are thrilled to have some of the best industry guest speakers this year to motivate our young learners by sharing their stories, experiences, and knowledge. We were glad to welcome Khushi Sangani (Kathak Visharad) and Anubhuti Sharma (Ph.D. in Theatre Performance Studies, School of Arts & Aesthetics, JNU). In their respective sessions they embarked on a journey of two major classical art forms of India into this world of magic, travel & adventure.
Learners and educators enjoyed exploring different classical art forms of India through various stories and intriguing anecdotes and unraveled the journey together.
There’s nothing more essential to life on Earth than water. Yet, people across the world are struggling to access the quantity and quality of water they need for drinking, cooking, bathing, handwashing, etc. Access to clean water changes everything; it’s a stepping-stone to development. Water connects every aspect of life. In order to understand the availability of freshwater, its shortage & its conservation, learners of grades 5 & 6 were introduced to the topic,‘Water: Around the World’.
In the launch stage, learners’ inquiry revolved around how water reaches our homes and our taps. Purification of water and the role of freshwater was also discussed. Different water resources were identified and the water channel from various resources to our taps and back to the source was explored. Various videos, articles and discussions led to better understanding. Learners were given time to identify and calculate the exact amount of water they used for certain basic day to day activities by conducting primary research. They then had to use a limited amount of water given to them for the same activities and present it in the form of a bar graph for their assessment. It made them realize the amount of water they recklessly wasted everyday.
During Deep Dive, water problems faced around the world and the factors that lead to water crises were discussed. Documentaries, TED talks and videos on water scarcity around the world were shown to the learners. Certain case studies were chosen from various countries around the world facing the water crisis. Learners were asked to present their understanding on the case study given to their group through presentations. Learners creatively wrote on a few hypothetical situations framed by educators for their assessment.
In coda, learners understood the necessity of water management and then explored different ways and methods to conserve water. Different methods such as: rain water harvesting, borewell recharge, redistribution of water, sewage treatment plant, grey water recycling, etc were explained to the learners. Group presentation on one method of conservation was to be given by the learners for their final assessment.
By the end of the exploration, learners understood the importance of freshwater availability and water crises around the world.
The term ‘food’ refers to what we eat and what nourishes our body. Some of our knowledge of what early man ate comes from archaeological studies of cave drawings of food and preparation activities. Primitive men collected their food from wild animals and plants. To understand the evolution of food over the years and to explore origins, development, diversity of food around the world; the topic of ‘Food: Culture, Traditions & History’ was introduced to our 3rd & 4th graders.
In the launch stage, learners defined the word food & what it meant to them personally. They learnt the origin and evolution of food from the prehistoric times till date. Learners explored the development of agricultural skills/ farming over the last few centuries resulting in change of diet patterns over the years. They understood how today in our diet, traditional foods are being replaced by fast foods with advancement in technology. Learners conducted primary research on the food preferences among different generations of their family and presented the data in the form of a bar graph for their assessment.
For deep dive, learners inspected various foods and flavours from different regions of India. They could truly taste ‘Unity in Diversity’. They were acquainted with the origin/history of various Indian cuisines. They understood why certain food dishes belonged to a certain region on the basis of their climatic conditions. Learners were shown a few documentaries, blogs, podcasts on food to get a detailed understanding. Each learner had to create a vlog on any Indian regional dish of their choice for assessments.
Finally, in coda stage, learners learnt how food connects the world around them. Learners explored the origin of various food dishes around the world. They also found out how global influence is expanding its reach on Indian food dishes. They watched an advertisement named, ‘Bhujia Ghum Aai Duniya’ for a better understanding of the influence of the global/western culture on Indian food. Learners were asked to prepare a food journal for their final assessment. It was a great experience for both the learners and the educators
The Northstar School is one of the few schools in the country providing truly international experiences. We believe that our learners should be global citizens and should have the skills and knowledge to understand different cultures. Our Global Language Experience Program is aimed to provide experience of different cultures through languages. We provide opportunities and platforms for our learners to interact with people around the world making them globally competent. A multicultural learning environment from a young age benefits children later on in life. Our kids have learnt with educators from the USA, Denmark, Switzerland, Belgium, Poland, Armenia, and many others. Such experiences foster international understanding.
Conflicts and Resolutions are a part of our day to day life. Every conflict has a solution. Conflict in general terms can be referred to as disagreement between two or more individuals arising whenever individuals have different values, opinions, needs, interests and are unable to find a solution. The topic of 'Conflicts and Resolutions' was introduced to the learners with an aim to foster awareness.
In the launch stage learners defined & discussed conflicts and resolution according to their perception. They were accustomed to different types of conflicts. Conflicts were categorized and assessed on the basis of three levels: Personal, Local & Global. For the assessment, learners were given with a situation on personal level and case studies were given for local and global level. Provocative questions were asked to the learners based on the topics provided to them.
Deep Dive was conducted for the learners to understand the five attributes of resolution which are: Negotiation, Arbitration, Peace making, Diplomacy and Mediation. They watched two movies: ‘Bridge of Spies’ and ‘Raazi’ to identify the five attributes discussed earlier. Different conflicting situations were given to the learners for which they had to make scripts finding resolutions.
By the end of the topic, learners were also able to identify the consequences of resolution. Facts and reality of World War 1 & 2 were very well discussed and explained to the learners by our guest speaker Dhrupad Bhatt, team leader at The Northstar School. An expert session for creating comic strips was taken by Meeta Ma’am, high school educator at The Northstar School. Learners presented situations covering up the conflicts, resolutions and the consequences of the resolutions in the form of comic strips for their assessment.
Farewells always leave you teary eyed, for not only do they remind you of the inevitable parting but are also a constant reminder of the wonderful time spent together. With a plethora of emotions brimming in the hearts of the Northstar family, we recently organised a farewell party to bid ‘adieu’ to our pioneering batch of learners, carrying the Northstar spirit to the universities around the world. It was a proud moment as our beaming young adults are ready to step out in the world, even as we were troubled by the pain of the parting. Joyous faces hide the sadness that fills the hearts of both those leaving and those sending off. As each one cheerfully walked down the corridors, welcomed by the Principal Ma’am, the audience stood up applauding. Their journey and the messages given by educators at The Northstar School were presented by learners of grade 11 in the form of a beautiful video. The venue added charm to the whole event. Under the open sky, the beautiful vines falling over the courtyard added to the ambience. Graduates then tied knots of thread with a bell in the harbinger of hope and wrote their hearts out in the postcards, leaving behind their memories. With interesting games, valedictory speeches, video of their journey at The Northstar School, and colourful presentations, Farewell 2021 evoked a strong sense of solidarity among The Northstar School family.