In this session, teams learn how to choose between random trial and error—which means just trying something to see if it works—and scientific experimentation, which is also a kind of trial and error, but much more carefully controlled and planned. They will begin to understand the deep theories behind thermodynamics, which help explain how explosions happen, how volatile chemicals react, and how heat is generated and transferred. Teams will compete at the exhibition to see who can launch their XPC rocket the highest.
In writer's workshop, Eagles will be exploring self-reflection. They will look back through their quests and overall year to see what they have done well, what they could have done better, and what specifically do they want to change for next time.
MS & HS Guide ~ Joey
This session, the Elementary Eagles are launching beyond Earth as we explore Astronomy! Beginning in our own solar system, we'll learn about the planets, their properties and our relation to the galaxy. As we move forward, we'll learn about the moon, the sun, stars, comets, meteors, and asteroids. We'll not only learn about our own galaxy but how our space in time is a part of the vast universe that knows no end. This quest has already shown so much interest and excitement amongst the Eagles and we’re excited to get deeper in the science of space with writing, art & exploration of Heroes in Astronomy.
We can't wait to wrap up our session at our exhibition in May!
Ashley & Sara
This session Eagles will learn basic chemistry through cooking. Each week during the session the Eagles will experience cooking challenges and competitions to see who has mastered the kitchen leveraging both knowledge of chemistry as well as the skills of a chef. The challenges will relate cooking to the fundamentals of chemistry: Mixtures, Molecules, Elements, Chemical Reactions, Acids/Bases, Chemical Equations, Solutes, Solvents, and Solutions.
The final exhibition will be a culmination of showcasing chemistry knowledge and skill in the kitchen in a final live cooking competition.
AAW Guide ~ Joey
This session for all levels, the Eagles are exploring what it’s like to survive in the wilderness. We started our session discovering the concept of foraging. We explored safe and unsafe plants and bugs that are available in the wild here in Texas. As the weeks go on, we’ll explore the use of maps and compasses, as well as the stars and gravitational pull directing a compass to North. Orienteering skills help us discover where we are in space, as well as how to get here and there. We’ll explore shelter, setting up tents, safety in the wild (animals, snakes, spiders, fire and more) and how to prepare for a trip. Not only creating a list but sticking to that list and cutting unnecessary packing items. We’re excited to supplement this quest with visits from wilderness experts, CPR & First Aid certifications for older Eagles, Snake Safety experts and will wrap it all up with a family campout March 28th - 29. During our campout exhibition, the Eagles will show in real time the skills learned over the last 5 weeks.
~Acton Academy West Guides
For the Entrepreneurship Quest, the Eagles are split into "Companies," and are in beginning stages of creating their own profitable business. Together they have assigned roles (CEO, VP of Marketing, Finance, etc.), conduct market research, study Ethics, Marketing and Ad tactics, create their brand, business plan and budgets for a successful business. As these companies develop, they will watch in real time as their chosen Publicly Traded Companies ebb and flow. As we watch the market together each day, we will be able to collect the data on what it takes to make it in the real world. The culmination of this Quest will be that of a "Trade Show" where guests will watch as our young Entrepreneurs present their ideas in hopes of further creation toward the Spring Business Fair in March!
Acton Academy West Guides
Greetings, AAW ES friends and families!
Each year during the third session, we transport ourselves during a simulation quest. Previously, we've explored Colonial Acton, Ellis Island, the Salem Witch Trials and this year, we will transport ourselves back in time to Acton Athens, where we'll complete various challenges as an avatar, a Greek hero of each Eagle's choice. Each challenge will earn coins that can be used throughout this session for various supplies and incentives.
We'll work our way through Oikos (the home), where we'll make things that would have been made in a Greek home like toys and art. We'll explore Academia (the academy), where we'll learn mythology, how to do math like a Greek, how to write the Greek alphabet, and geography. We'll visit the Agora (the market), where we'll buy and rent the items we need to complete the challenges, as well as hand-made Greek items from each other. Finally, we'll spend time in The Stoa of Attalos where we'll participate in philosophical discussions and Socratic Discussion competitions.
When we begin Project Time each day, we'll get into character by putting on a name tag and earning traditional laurel wreaths. In Ancient Greece, laurel wreaths were given to victors of athletic and academic competitions.
During Civilization this session, we’ll also do a read-aloud of The Iliad, an epic poem and one of the first books ever written, set during the Trojan War.
This session is so fun every year, and we can't wait to see it unfold!
We do not do exhibitions for our simulation quest.
Καλησπέρα! (Have a great afternoon/evening!) Ashley & Sara
This session the middle school is doing an introduction to robotics. They will be exploring the world of electricity, switches, sensors, micro-controllers (Arduinos) and programming their robots in C++. They will need to master each of the skills so they can create and program a "driverless car" to drive, avoid a pedestrian, and park in their designated parking area, to be seen at the exhibition.
This session's writer's workshop will be a creative writing piece that will be based on an image they select early in the session. They will create a character and world based on the image. They will be exploring Freytag's Pyramid and the Hero's Journey as they shape their story.
Last but not least, we will be doing Colonial Acton during Civilization. This will include learning about the American Revolution, but will they will also role play the characters in the revolution, but includes having to follow the tyrannical rules of King George, including taxes, limiting permissions, etc.
This session, the Elementary Eagles will be diving into the study of Health in the Human Body! We will begin our study with the skeleton and the role the bones play, then the organs, digestive system and what affects it all. We will explore how the choices we make each day affect our organs, cells, blood, brain function and how we grow into healthy adults. We'll understand what food labels are, how to read them and what it means in terms of health and nutrition. Through the study of sugar, insulin, blood sugar, macro & micronutrients, we'll see how the human body works as a machine, with many important moving parts! We'll learn about heroes in the world of health, and the research that guides what we know, and how we make the right choices to live a healthful life.
In addition, each Eagle will dive deeper into a subject they find interesting regarding health while conducting a Passion Project research study. During the exhibition, look to your Eagle to show you the deeper work they've explored!
We can't wait to share with you all we learn over the next 5 weeks, and we'll see you at the Health & Human Body Exhibition on November 15th at 2:15!
In health and gratitude,
Acton Academy West Guides~
Ashley & Sara
The goal of The Game Of Life Quest (Personal Finance) is to prepare Heroes with tools to thrive in the real world by going beyond a few basic financial tools and skills, and delving deeply into the helpful and destructive ways money can influence our lives. This starts with an exploration of the meaning of money for each person. Heroes will research and plan what their financial futures will look like as well as vocations and careers. Each individual will pitch the job, providing proof of talents and passions and explaining which apprenticeships and college degrees had prepared them for the position. In doing so, the twists and turns and path dependencies of early life choices become clearer. As the quest progresses, they will have surprise events that will pop up (medical expenses, unexpected damage to their house, etc) and they will see how not planning for those events can have life-changing consequences.
Joey~ Acton West MS/HS Guide
Acton West Families,
Welcome to Session One! This year is already shaping up to be one of the best yet as we dive into our quest study on Building the Tribe! During this Community quest, we focus not only on what makes a community as a whole but also what our role is within the group. We learn what it means to be a responsible citizen online, in groups of people, and alone. In pairs, small groups and in large groups, we will challenge ourselves, we will discover our learning style and how to work with people who have different learning styles, love languages and ways of thinking.
Another way we strengthen our community during Session 1 is through the LIP DUB! One of the Eagles' favorite challenges is creating a music video! A thoughtful song will be chosen for the Eagles to perform along with the Middle School, on video. They will choose how and when each person performs, plan the choreography, costumes, scenery, and filming.
During this session, the Eagles will create the contract they will abide by throughout the rest of the year. Through this process, an elected committee will gather data from the community about the rules they want to set into place, lead the votes and put together our final product. This process will end with a sacred ceremony in which everyone in the community signs the contract, thus taking the plunge into their Hero's Journey.
We are looking forward to wrapping up Session 1 at our Exhibition on October 4th, where the Elementary Eagles will walk their families and friends through the Core Skills process. The Eagles will present our Core Skills, badges and more through a "station experience." You will have the opportunity to ask questions, log on, see the badge books and ask any clarifying questions to your Eagles to fully understand the unique systems at Acton. We feel that this will be beneficial for family communication and confidence in your child's ability to manage his or her badge progress this year.
The Middle & High School Eagles will be holding a different variation of this exhibition, highlighting their individual plans mapped out for the year.
We can't wait for all of the elements to unfold, to watch each other grow and build our community even deeper!
The Acton West Guides
This session, the Acton West Eagles will be diving deep into Marine Biology! Through the exploration of the seas, we will discover more about the oceans, marine ecosystems, life below water, the Coral Reefs and the human impact on Earth's oceans. Through group projects and independent study, we can't wait to wrap up this fabulous school year as heroes of the sea!
Ashley & Sara~Acton Academy West Guides
In session six, the Eagles will get to explore the basics of Psychology, the study of the human mind. As they start their journey, they will first learn about the theory of consciousness and the power that the Growth Mindset has over our thoughts. Next they will meet their mentor, the brain, and will gather all the wisdom each function has to offer. Helpers and allies, many significant psychologists, will help them understand the brain, thoughts, and behaviors through their theories. They will begin the Road of Trials with the Scientific Method as they create their very own experiments. During the journey, they will also be challenged with the theories of Nature vs Nurture, the basics of behavior, and the discovery of personality traits. We cannot wait for you all to come and join us for Our Final Showdown (the exhibition) to see how much we have learned!
Sara & Ashley ~ Acton Academy West Guides
This Session the MS Eagles will be working on the Biology Medical Quest. Eagles will be working as both a researcher and a practicing physician, diagnosing real cases.
As a medical researcher, Eagles will be writing and presenting a speech, campaigning for more funding to cure a particular disease. In this speech, Eagles will use: Pathos by invoking the story of a real person who has the disease; Logos to argue logically why more funding per case is needed and Ethos by standing in the shoes of a real researcher, explaining scientifically how a cure might be possible.
Separately, Eagles will also work as part of a team constructing a video, drawing or model of one of the systems of the human body.
Finally, Eagles will assume the role of Gregory House, MD, a famous diagnostician TV character, modeled after Sherlock Holmes. As Dr. House, Eagles will study how medicine is practiced, eventually working in a team of doctors, learning to query patients and diagnose cases.
Joey ~ Middle School Guide
During this session, the Eagles will be exploring the concepts of Architecture & Design! We will cover all different types from residential, retail, structural to commercial. In teams of 2 or 3 peers, we will explore scale, Heroes in Architecture, blueprints, rendering, building codes, 3D models, architecture tools and much more. Not only will we be exploring what it takes to design inspiring buildings, but also the lives that we want. We will explore what it takes to dig deep, recognize the areas in which we want to grow and the types of citizens we truly want to be. We can't wait to share our final building designs with you at our Architecture Exhibition.
Ashley & Sara ~ Elementary Guides
This is the first of three middle school quests about Biology. This session, Eagles are exposed to challenges and games concerning the tiniest of organisms to systems that affect our entire planet, and from the dawn of time to the latest scientific breakthroughs. Researching and exploring the lives of Biology Heroes and the process of discovery and paradigm shifts.
At the exhibition, teams of Eagles will create one or more interactive experiments or displays representing different areas of biology: cell, plant, animal, human, or Biosphere. In addition to competing for the most engaging scientific experiment display, teams will showcase Biology knowledge in a Biology Bee. There will also be a reading of the Best-in-Studio Biology Hero Biographies.
For the (elementary) Entrepreneurship quest, the Eagles are split into 6 "Companies," and are in beginning stages of creating their own profitable business. Together they have assigned roles (CEO, VP of Marketing, Finance, etc.), conduct market research, study Ethics, Marketing and Ad tactics, create their brand, business plan and budgets for a successful business. As these companies develop, they will watch in real time as their chosen Publicly Traded Companies ebb and flow. As we watch the market together each day, we will be able to collect the data on what it takes to make it in the real world. The culmination of this Quest will be that of a "Trade Show" where guests will watch as our young Entrepreneurs present their ideas in hopes of further creation toward the Spring Business Fair in March!
Ashley & Sara ~ Acton Academy West Guides
During this mini-session, we will be exploring the Judicial System through a series of simulations. We will dive deeper into the court system, the process of jury trials, evidence, and many famous cases throughout history. We will challenge the Eagles to think deeper about the "fairness" of certain cases and what it means to be a strong citizen in a community. The systems we use at Acton (holding each other accountable, the Eagle Buck system, Town Council and Socratic Discussions to name a few.) correlate directly with the systems used in our county, state, and country. We continue to immerse the Eagles in real-world scenarios, and we are excited to watch them grow further in our quest!
Ashley & Sara~ Acton West Guides
During this quest, the Eagles will learn the fundamentals of programming and code through fun and interactive ways. Based on each Eagle's level of experience and knowledge about Computer Science, they will explore the basics of programming, collaboration techniques, investigation and algorithms, nested loops, conditionals, translate their initials into binary, investigate different problem-solving techniques and so much more. Discussions will go beyond coding as we learn more about digital citizenship, cyberbullying and the societal impacts of computing and the internet. We can't wait to share our end product at this session's exhibition!
Sara, Ashley & Joey ~ Acton Academy West Guides
Every year we like to start off our first quest with a passion project. We love learning more about our Eagles as we see what gets their creative juices flowing!
We were inspired by Google's Genius Hour Idea, in which employees are empowered to explore their own passions for 20% of their day. Here at Acton West, our Eagles are exploring their own passions during project time for the rest of this session. In the beginning stages of Genius Hour, the Eagles will spend time thinking of the things that drive them, excite them and inspire them to gather more information. Some projects are made to solve a problem or satisfy a need. Projects will be planned through idea mapping, gathering supplies and sometimes, collaborating with others. While working alone or on teams, the Eagles will be spending their Genius Hour time researching their subjects, asking detailed questions and working on their end product. With the Acton Business Fair just around the corner, we encourage the Eagles to think deeper about the process of researching, editing, revising and creating. We can't wait for you to see the final Exhibition on October 5th!
Acton Academy West Team