Thank you to all who took part in last week's Black History Month Showcase. The well-attended event inspired by the award-winning movie Hidden Figures was hosted by C3 (Culture, Creed, and Community) on Thursday, February 1, in the Gymnasium & Performance Center.
Project & Inquiry-Based Learning
Crafting probing questions about important topics and then having their research and exploration supported, face-to-face and shoulder-to-shoulder, by exceptional teachers enables students to achieve a deeper level of understanding in their academic work.
Throughout Project-Based Learning (PBL) units, students develop their own driving questions to guide their research, have opportunities to collaborate with classmates, and create final products that reveal their findings and, ultimately, impart their new knowledge to wider audiences. In this conception of education, faculty members act as facilitators, allowing for a significant level of student self-direction.
At St. Patrick’s, students pursue their curiosity in inquiry-based units across the humanities and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) fields and at every grade level. We incorporate Harvard's Project Zero approach of look, see, wonder to help us nurture that curiosity.
We consider project- and inquiry-based learning, along with other innovative approaches to teaching, essential to motivating our students to remain inspired and curious. At St. Patrick's, students love to learn.
Beginning in November, Kindergarten students started exploring the holiday season in the context of "holidays of light" traditions. This inquiry culminated in each class creating its own holiday and sharing it with the other two Kindergarten classes.
Student research project on states provides insight into how each state is unique in its own way.
A few weeks ago, Grade 3 students presented the culmination of a trimester-long inquiry project. The project began with students gaining background knowledge about the United States followed by each individual selecting a state to study further. Students formed questions to guide their research and, in turn, narrowed their topic to one that was driven by their interest. They researched to find answers to their questions, synthesized their answers, and created a method of sharing their discoveries. Simultaneously, students found an image corresponding to their research topic to inspire more research questions. During art class, they analyzed the visual composition of their photos with art teacher Stephanie Sack and added to the image to reflect their new learning.
Throughout the school year, the local newspaper Northwest Current publishes a "School Dispatches" section featuring student-written updates from local elementary, middle, and high schools. St. Patrick's students have participated in the past, and this year we will post regularly. This week, the paper featured a dispatch from Grade 8 student Sander Rodman describing his chemistry project on platinum. Keep your eye out for these pieces in the Northwest Current! To download a copy, click here.
On Friday, November 17, from 9:30 to 11:30 am, the Admission Office will host an Admission Parent Program on Inquiry-Based Learning.
During this parents-only event, visitors will hear a performance by a student musical group, tour our spaces to observe classes in action, and hear more about our approach to Inquiry-Based Learning from a panel of teachers. Prospective parents interested in attending should pre-register through Ravenna, our online admission system. Parents can also contact Lindsay Spector, Director of Admission and Financial Aid, at 202-342-2831 or email for more information.