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

This blog offers a glimpse into the journey of the MidPacific 
students in the MPX project-based learning program.
Please follow the class on twitter for more fun!
Thank you,


posted Aug 27, 2015, 1:05 PM by Heather Calabro

In Humanities this week, the students began their Ancient Civilization Unit. In pairs, the students created short animated videos that taught their peers about one aspect of Ancient Roman Civilization. The students really enjoyed each other's videos, and admitted that learning an overview of history in such a format is much more interesting than reading from a textbook. One of the animated shorts can be viewed at:
The students later researched Vespasian and created an infographic of his biography, in order to prepare for our reading of our first novel, Vespasian Tribune of Rome. In joined Humanities-STEM class, the students researched, designed, drew to scale, and constructed models of a "stool" that they could use in our classroom. The purpose of the stool project is to get the students acquainted with design and construction before embarking on our involved/more complicated year-long hydroponic work. The photos below show some of the progress the student teams made.


posted Aug 21, 2015, 10:58 AM by Heather Calabro

The second week of school was a busy one. The students completed their Humanities project on their summer reading book. The project work required the students to brainstorm, research, write, revise, and be artistic. The result of their work is a beautiful gallery in the Atherton Building, with links to their writing component. Now that the students understand the basic components to project work and have assessed the summer reading, we can dive into our true curriculum beginning Monday. This week also served as further introduction to our Humanities-STEM theme of Food Security and Sustainability. The students examined and sorted trash from the school cafeteria and our homes. The students were surprised to see how many recyclable materials had been tossed carelessly into the trash. How much of the trash was actually compostable/reusable. And how much true-trash existed in the form of something that could be made differently to save on waste (styrofoam plates could be paper or washable dishware). The students then reflected on the experience in their blogs. This activity was a good way to get the students thinking about waste and conservation as we head to the waste-to-power plant next week on our first field trip.


posted Aug 13, 2015, 10:53 AM by Heather Calabro

This has been a great first week of school! The Mpx students are engaged and vibrant. I am enjoying getting to know each of them and have a great feeling about the accomplishments this group will experience this year. On Wednesday, we pulled the two classes of Mpx together to do a large group "Mpx orientation" activity. After brainstorming and agreeing on class norms, the students were put into teams and given a challenge: create the tallest structure using only the corks and toothpicks given to you. The competition was fierce! While the students all learned a little something about rapid prototyping, the real lesson was in collaboration. The students correctly identified what collaboration is and what collaboration looks like, and then they modeled it during the challenge. It was such a great way to kick off our Mpx school year! Below are some photos of the design challenge:

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)

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