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

May 8, 2015

posted May 8, 2015, 11:56 AM by Heather Calabro

One week ago was the big MPIron Chef event, held at KCC. The student teams did such an excellent job! The entire year's work came together in one evening as the students cooked the produce that they grew in hydroponic gardens that they designed and built! 
Photos of the event can be found in the gallery link in this article: 
The recorded live stream from the kitchen that evening can be found at: 
This week, the students' WWII Project was finally exhibited. The students erected a 3D-printed timeline of 31 significant events from WWII. Each student designed an artifact that was 3D printed, wrote an essay about the event, and created a video about the event. The essay and the video are accessible through an iphone app called MPX9 WWII Stories that can be downloaded through the app store on your iphone or ipad. The students' exhibit is designed to teach others about WWII through a unique and engaging format. Please check out the exhibit in the Weinberg Tech Center on the landing in the stairwell between the first and second floor. Here are some photos of the exhibit:


posted Apr 24, 2015, 6:13 PM by Heather Calabro

The students acted as educators this week when they hosted a handful of teachers from Niu Valley Middle School who were interested in learning about Project Based Learning. It was a great opportunity for the freshmen to speak to adults, to present their work, and to reflect on the project work they have been doing. In this case, the students explained their start to finish work on the WWII project from last quarter. We are still awaiting some of their designs to be queued up in the 3D printer, but when they are finished, we will welcome you to come to school to view the display. The Niu Valley Middle School teachers were both impressed and delighted.

The students are also harvesting beautiful vegetables. At this point, they are preserving them until the big competition, one week from today. We can't wait. It is going to be exciting!


posted Apr 16, 2015, 1:58 PM by Heather Calabro

The students are busy 3D printing their googlesketchup-designed WWII artifacts. Once they are all printed, they'll be assembled into a unique timeline with an accompanying app. While we await the printing (each piece takes hours to print), the students are moving on in the curriculum and beginning to examine the Russian Revolution for a research paper assignment that will finish out the year.

In the year-long sustainability project, the students are nearing the end! They have cultivated their plants and are readying them for harvest. They have refined their recipes, and have completed a mock-competition practice this week at KCC. The 7 teams did a great job attempting to prepare their dish within the competition time frame. As a mock-judge, I can testify that the flavors were awesome. Their hard work is paying off! The big event will be held during the evening on May 1st, and all are welcome. Please contact me for more information about attending. 

Below are photos from our field trip to KCC this week:

Team Koala Modik's lettuce wraps

Team Retropiledrivers' tostada

Team TVI's stir fry

Team Rastaponics' pesto pasta

Team Micks' alfredo pasta

Team Hydro Heroes' chicken parmesan

Team Land's polenta


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.

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