Ma ka hana ka 'ike (in working, one learns)

This class blog offers a glimpse into the educational journey of students in the 
Mid-Pacific Institute Exploratory Program's 9th grade Humanities course.
Information about the program can be found at
And, this class can be found on Twitter at
Thank you for visiting this site's weekly posts,
Ms. Heather Calabro


posted Mar 20, 2015, 11:06 AM by Heather Calabro

In Humanities class, we have spent the last week and a half working on our WWII project. Students have chosen one WWII event to cover. They researched the event and created a short iMovie summarizing their findings and adding visuals. Students have identified one person associated with their event and have written a narrative about their WWII event through that person's eyes. Lastly, students have used the Google Sketch Up program to create an artifact from their WWII event in a 3D file. After the students return from spring break, the students will print their 3D artifact using the 3D printers we have on campus. The 3D printed artifacts will be displayed chronologically. The videos and narratives will be housed in an app for the iPad which our CIO has created and sent to Apple for app store approval. Guests can view the artifact timeline and use the app to take them through a biographical story of WWII. It will be a really neat student exhibition.
In the Humanities-STEM project, students have been growing produce like crazy! They have been harvesting their vegetables. And are timing their future harvest with the MPIron Chef event, scheduled for May 1st, so they can compete against one another in the kitchens at KCC. 
I hope all of the students enjoy their spring break!


posted Mar 9, 2015, 6:26 PM by Heather Calabro   [ updated Mar 9, 2015, 6:28 PM ]

Friday's after school event was a good success! The students were all very social with the guests, and able to articulate their work for the project. The turn out was great! And, the student work (the illustrated shoes) were all auctioned off for a total of $630, allowing the class to recoup the cost of the shoes, as well as make a donation to a Congo charity of their choice, in the class' name! The school's photographer took photos of the event and I will post a link to them on this site just as soon as they are ready to be shared. For now, I leave you with a copy of the event's program.
Thank you for supporting your child, the event, and the Mpx program!


posted Feb 28, 2015, 4:39 PM by Heather Calabro

The students are juggling a lot of assignments at the moment. Sometimes this can happen when student choice and student voice are an integral part of the classroom environment. The students desire to illustrate shoes catapulted the Congo Project work into another dimension, that is only now culminating (scroll down to previous blog post for invitation information). Meanwhile, the students are working in 3D creation and printing. Each student chose a WWII event, researched, and are now creating an artifact to represent that event that will be 3D printed. Lastly, of course, strides were made in the year long project! The students performed beautifully this week as they partook in a challenging field trip and also hosted public school teachers later in the week. The field trip tested the students in executing the recipe they have been planning together for months. While every team succeeded in serving something, there was much room for improvement. The experts at KCC required our students to revisit and redefine their recipe plan once again. Drafting and revising are two elements in Mpx Humanities that never go away! The public school teachers visited to learn about hydroponics, from our students! They were very impressed with the complexity of the project work. 
We are looking forward to seeing you all our student exhibition and silent auction on Friday, thank you!


posted Feb 19, 2015, 12:16 PM by Heather Calabro

Every team is officially in the growing stage. Yay! It is a joy to see the students so proud of their accomplishment. Their vegetables are quite gorgeous, have you ever seen more beautiful heads of lettuce?! As you can see from the photos below, some teams are experiencing greater growth than others. Growth depends upon when the students planted their seeds, daily pH and TDS balancing, and proper pruning of the plants. The sustainability station is very accessible (located behind the quad- by the football field), so the next time you are on campus for a sporting event or a parent-teacher association meeting, please walk by and admire the hydroponic systems!

Hydro Heroes (Priscilla, Isabel, Tyler, Kahiau)

Retropiledrivers (Ben, Mike, Peter, Solomon)

Terra Ventus Ignius (Dani, Cole, Chaz, Noah, Max)

Koala Modiks (Dan, Michael, Kody, Ian G, Olivia)

LAND (Liam, Aleks, Nari, Dane)

Rastaponics (Zoran, Matt, Avi, Shannon, Landon)

Micks (Mackie, Ian M, Caitlin, Kai)


posted Feb 11, 2015, 11:00 PM by Heather Calabro   [ updated Feb 11, 2015, 11:01 PM ]

This week brought many visitors to our classroom which provides great authentic networking experience for the students! First, a teacher from Greenwich High School in Connecticut visited the year-long project work time in order to study the art of project-based learning, which our students are nearly professional at, now! He was very impressed with the work that students were doing and was happy to have so much information to return to his own school with, where he will be starting a program modeled after Mpx! A reflection on his visit can be found at:

Secondly, our students graciously hosted dozens of MPIMiddle students, who are interested in enrolling in Mpx next year. Our students not only shared their work, but led the prospective students in discussions regarding the style of learners they are. 

Lastly, Harvard researchers visited our classroom to observe how the Mpx students are practicing global learning. It was perfect timing because the researchers were able to see the students finishing up their Congo project work (illustrating the shoes for auction). The students were able to explain their project work start to finish and demonstrate how they are expanding their work beyond the classroom walls, all the way to the Congo!
Please, mark your calendars for the upcoming event for the Congo project, the invitation is below!


posted Feb 4, 2015, 1:09 PM by Heather Calabro

The students are juggling many items this week, and I am proud of how well they are managing. The students are finishing up their African unit that focused on imperialism by coloring the shoes for the auction event. We have yet to pick a date for the auction, but the students have brainstormed locations, advertisements, display logistics, and benefactors. While that event is in the works, we have already begun the WWII unit. The students are reading Code Name Verity, a novel about a spy during WWII, and practicing their annotation skills. In class, the students have explored a good foundation of the history of WWII. This week, the students each chose a significant WWII event and completed preliminary research on the event. The students will spend the coming weeks completing a few different mini-projects which will compile into a main project, with public display, culminating the unit.
Lastly, the students' year long Humanities-STEM joined project is really coming along! As you can see in the photos below, the student-designed and student-constructed hydroponic garden systems are up and running! We've got growth! These two groups successfully transplanted their seedlings into their system and have balanced the water and fertilizers properly to sustain plant growth. Onward and upward!


posted Jan 29, 2015, 3:27 PM by Heather Calabro

The highlight of this week was certainly the field trip to KCC's training kitchens. The student teams are getting so much better at managing their workloads in the kitchens, handling the ingredients (from dicing to sauteing), and also cleaning up after themselves. The instructor chef was pleased with their work and the program coordinator was excited to announce that the next field trip we take to KCC (next month) will be a test run of the recipe the teams have created. While cooking and cleaning are life skills that we hope our Mpx9s will use to sustain themselves now and throughout the rest of their lives, we stress the importance of food security during this project. The students are understanding that everything we do in Mpx has purpose and eventually links to everything else that we do. Growing your own food in a small space allows oneself to be self-reliant regardless of the state of shipping affairs in our island state. Growing your own food in a small space also allows oneself to eat healthy by eating fresh and close to your food source. The students are becoming more and more vested in the topic of food security. Below are a few photos of the field trip this week.


posted Jan 23, 2015, 4:37 PM by Heather Calabro

This week marked a milestone...all seven of the year-long project teams got their hydroponic gardens up, and more importantly running/pumping in our Sustainability Station behind the quad on campus. It is a magical thing to see students' designs become a reality! Now, the students will be transplanting their seedlings into their hydroponic gardens, and testing/balance pH and TDS levels on a daily basis to make sure they grow up and out. Below, you will see how the students' infographics of their system (basically a jazzed-up version of a schematic) reflect the reality of their system.
In Humanities, the students are working on finalizing visual representations of prose they wrote about an issue in the Congo that interested them. This is part of our African Imperialism unit. The students have been going through numerous feedback, both peer and teacher, rounds (photographed below) to make sure their designs are worthy of the medium the students have chosen- Vans shoes! The shoes are going to be assembled into a really unique gallery, and auctioned off to benefit a charity in the Congo. Stay tuned for the gallery opening dates and information in the weeks to come.


posted Jan 16, 2015, 11:27 AM by Heather Calabro

The students are hard at work in Humanities putting the finishing touches on their prose writings and drafting illustrations to represent their prose writings. The students are also in the process of vetting charities that our class could donate to as part of our project exhibition. I am pleased with how well the students share their work and offer each other feedback. In order to become inspired to represent their prose through an illustration, our class hosted a professional graphic artist, Justin White, to our class. He presented to the class about his background, his experiences, and how his graphics represent his political beliefs. The students enjoyed his simple but powerful graphics work and it really helped them to redirect their own work. Here is a photo of the class interested in our guest speaker's expertise:


posted Dec 12, 2014, 10:48 AM by Heather Calabro   [ updated Dec 12, 2014, 10:51 AM ]

This week was filled with students' Presentations of Learning. These "PoLs" take place instead of a typical final exam at the end of each semester. The ninth graders presented for 8-10 minutes about the individual educational journey they took this semester in our project-based learning environment. The students did a good job of articulating what challenged them and how those challenges helped them to develop skills that they will use for the rest of the year as well as for the rest of their lives. Here's an example of one of our students presenting this week:

Last week, one of the year-long project teams finished their hydroponic garden. Again, the gardens were designed by the student teams and then were constructed by the student teams. When we return from winter break, the student teams will plant their choice of vegetables in their garden and will spend the semester cultivating their crops! We decided to experiment with the 3D scanner (LiDAR) on campus. Below, you will see the student team pictured with the 3D scanner and the final product, a virtual file of their garden!

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