Every week (Wednesdays) students go on a learning expedition that supports their unit of study. In the works for the spring is a plan for every class at Powell to embark on multi-week learning expedition in order to tackle a science or social studies topic more deeply. Expeditions are in-depth, long-term investigations of significant real-life problems and questions. These topics are compelling and relevant to students, but also address issues important to the community or discipline at large. Classes begin preparing for their expeditions early in the year.
► In-depth investigations that address guiding questions linked to Language Arts, Science and Social Studies Units;
► A high-quality product that meets an authentic need and has an audience and purpose beyond families and the classroom teacher;
► Many opportunities for fieldwork that have a clear purpose, often related to collecting data or research in an authentic way;
► Service learning;
► Visits from outside experts;
► Student performances and presentations of expertise and high-quality work.
The expeditions involve classroom, community, and museum-based work. Students take advantage of remarkable Washington, DC resources such as the Smithsonian Institution, National Geographic Society, the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, Young Playwrights Theater, historic theaters, and parks, among many others.
Trips are coupled with learning from local experts brought in to speak with the students on whatever topic is being studied. Each expedition integrates reading, writing, and math into their exciting topics.
Fieldwork is an integral part of the Powell curriculum, giving opportunities to learn in other venues, meet local experts, and tie their classroom learning to the world outside of Powell. Fieldwork may consist of a trip to the local library, a visit to a museum, or a trip to a building, park, organization, or historic site.
A few examples of expeditions:
► 3rd grade, River Responsibility – How do our actions impact water health in the Anacostia and Chesapeake Bay Watersheds? Growing rice to plan and doing clean-ups with the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens.
► 1st grade, Insects -Why do insects look so funny? How do animals evolve and change over time?
► 4th grade, Urban Gardening – What are the benefits of growing and eating vegetables and fruit grown locally? How can we use the principles of solar energy to build a solar oven?; How can we represent self in portraits with the Embassy of Mexico?
►5th Grade: How can we debate the use of technology to prevent cyber-bullying with Perkins Coie Law Firm?