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This year, several middle school classes participated in learning expeditions — grade-wide, interdisciplinary case studies — that focused on issues impacting their direct community. Learning expeditions are a common structure across our network schools, and promote authentic learning experiences tied in to relevant issues. Here is a round-up of some of our favorites:

Launch – Me to We to Weeksville

Sixth graders at Launch explored the parallels between their community and the historic community of Weeksville (where Launch is located), founded by free Black Americans in the 1830s. Students interviewed community members, reflected on their own identities, and analyzed artifacts from historical Weeksville sites. This culminated in a website documenting the artifacts and stories of their neighborhood.

Kudos to Launch social studies teachers Janee Wright and Alexus Bright, visual art teacher Tiana Scott, and ELA teachers Elizabeth Sanchez and Shamique White for working together to facilitate this engaging expedition!

MS 839 – The Ground We Stand On

Seventh grade students at MS 839 studied the indigenous history of the land we inhabit as New Yorkers, and the need for humans to act as responsible participants in our ecosystem. This week, they presented OpEd articles on contemporary topics that impact how land is used and cared for in NYC. 

MELS – QueensWay

Sixth graders at MELS shared their voices as part of a local effort to transform an abandoned railway near the school into a sustainable, multi-use space for the Central Queens community. The learning expedition included research about the needs of the community, field work at the Queens Botanical Garden and Forest Park, and an expert discussion with Friends of the QueensWay to learn more about their advocacy work.

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