We tagged along in Mr. Robb’s eighth grade Leadership & Public Speaking class for a highly engaging and collaborative activity. Like many group initiatives, the Marshmallow Challenge game appears simple, but the process by which a group may accomplish it can be altogether a different matter. The Marshmallow Challenge is a problem-solving exercise that challenges people’s assumptions, encourages teamwork, trial and error, and how to work under pressure. This YouTube short was a copy of a Reel from our instagram page that received more than 7,000 views and had 212 likes.
#2 Barbie Doll Drop: Linear Equations
We caught up with Mr. Hagerty, an Upper School math teacher, in this video for an overview of this engaging seventh grade Algebra I lesson exploring the concept of linear equations. After breaking up into small collaborative teams, the class was outfitted with a measuring tape, a bag of rubber bands and a Barbie doll. Students measured Barbie’s height, as each doll was slightly different in size, without rubber bands. Each team placed a measuring tape on the wall and set up their station. Then each group added the rubber bands and dropped Barbie from the top of a meter stick in a very controlled environment. They measured the lowest point that the doll’s head reached. Students continued this process multiple times, adding a rubber band each time. The more bands we add, the lower Barbie would drop. Each team then recorded the data in a chart and began tinkering with the number of rubber bands and the estimated outcome. Check out the rest of the activity in the video below!
#3 Leadership Skills & Soccer
This YouTube Short touches on the intersection of athletics and leadership development. Athletics provides great opportunities for student-athletes to gain self-confidence and strengthen their leadership skills. An aspect of the final week of each soccer season is a tradition of student-led training sessions. The coaches task the eighth graders with leading their respective teams of younger students, requiring them to run through three drills and lead the entire training session. The eighth graders had to organize and explain each drill, putting their coaching skills to the test!
#4 Market Day
Market Day is both a hands-on Project Based Learning (PBL) math activity that centers around basic economic principles and a community service project. For two days in May the second graders unleashed their creativity and business savvy as they explored the concepts of supply and demand in a real-world mini-economy project. Second graders studied the dynamics of an economy and then applied their understanding in the role of an entrepreneur and producer. This awesome real-world activity also had an important community service component, as the students raised a record amount for this project – $2,084.29 – for the Frederick County/Winchester City Bright Futures Program.
#5 Authentic Learning Experiences
Outdoor education, learning in nature, and authentic learning are all valuable approaches to education that offer unique benefits to all children. When children spend time learning in nature they are given the opportunity to connect with nature, learn new skills, and engage in physical activity. This type of education allows for a more holistic approach to learning that can help children develop a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them. At Powhatan, we use a program called Nature Enhanced Approach to Learning (NEAL) to create these meaningful learning experiences across grade levels. This YouTube Short was a clip from the earlier long form video on the Crocker Conservancy highlighting a unique second grade cross-curricular mapping and navigation activity.
#6 Upper School Retreat 2022
Upper School Retreat is no stranger to our countdown. The 2022-23 version takes viewers on a journey through the premier two-day off-campus community building experience.
#7 Authentic Learning on the Crocker Conservancy
Authentic learning involves connecting classroom learning to real-world situations, helping children see the relevance and practical applications of what they are learning. This approach can help children develop critical thinking skills and a deeper understanding of the world around them. Authentic learning also helps to promote creativity and problem-solving skills, as children are given opportunities to explore their own interests and find their own solutions to real-world problems. This highly engaging cross-curricular activity combined the study of social studies and navigation/mapping.
#8 Buddies & Earth Week
A number of the Earth Week activities across campus in April were Buddy Activities. The Buddy program pairs students at different grade levels together for learning activities and plenty of fun. It provides Big Buddies with leadership opportunities and teaches patience. Little Buddies gain confidence and feel a strong sense of community, a sense of place and a deep sense of belonging. One of the highlights from Earth Week 2023 was the Trash Can Corral project. This Buddy Activity connected kindergarten and eighth grade students in a fun and messy painting project. There was plenty of teamwork and creativity involved! Learn more in the video below:
#9 Wetlands Field Day 2023
At Powhatan School we use an approach called Nature Enhanced Approach to Learning (NEAL). NEAL is a lens through which we can teach any or all components of our curriculum. We use it to bring our students outside into the natural world and to bring the natural world indoors to our students. Guest speakers and scientists are hallmarks of the program. They work directly with the children in a real-world setting. For example, the ability to learn about the Wetlands in a hands-on experiential learning activity with guest scientists makes for a truly meaningful experience.
#10 Hour of CODE
Students of all ages spent a week in December coding in the library with Mrs. Miller, the innovation and technology teacher, and a host of parent volunteers! The Hour of Code event is a great way to get students interested in Computer Science; it gets them out of their comfort zone, embraces creativity, and gives them time to have fun with their friends!
Thank you for following along all week for our countdown! The school YouTube page has more than 700,000 total views. In the time period from July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023, we created more than 30 short-form and long-form videos ranging from experiences in pre-kindergarten to eighth grade. Of note, the Top-10 is focused on projects/trips/classroom experiences and is ranked solely on the number of views each video received. The more views a video received, the higher the ranking in the countdown.