What's New in Computer Science and Intercultural Studies! (Week 3 & 4)

Hello Parents! We are concluding our second two-week block of the third quarter, and it has been packed! No doubt you've heard reports of "Robot Gutz" and "Sushi Making" - these were the favorites I heard about from the students. They also made some traditional Japanese gardens! Please read below to see exactly what your student has been up to these last two weeks, and what they have been learning. It really has felt like an action-packed two weeks because of how much we did and learned. I hope they had as much fun as I did!


Monday / Thursday Theme: "Exploding Stuff"


This class is going to be a constant throughout this quarter. Here is the synopsis again for what the students are learning with Mr. Duffy:

This class is the second installment of Leviticus and will address more of the Levitical considerations such as sustainable communities, identification of culture, treatment of immigrants and foreigners, generation of fair and integral business, increased responsibility of community leaders, festivals and calendars, rest, recreation and health, and debt forgiveness. These words are big now but soon the students will understand what they mean and why they are important for us as we consider how to live out God’s word in our day-to-day.

The goals for this Bible class are:

  1. Students learn that people (they) are responsible for their environment
  2. Students learn how they can positively or negatively affect their environment
  3. Students are able to articulate what God expects of his people in regards to their environment 


Robot Gutz:

This class will take a look at what robots are; how they are built and function. They will learn about robotic components are such as motors, switches, actuators, and relays. By utilizing hands-on activities, students will learn the steps of the Scientific Method in a way that engages the linguistic (reading instructions), bodily-kinesthetic (acting out those instructions), and interpersonal (working with a team) intelligences. These activities also give the students an example of how the Scientific Method can be applied to real-life situations in addition to the theoretical and conceptual.

Goals for this course:

  1. Learn and practice the basic steps of the scientific method.
  2. Follow detailed instructions with a group to build a robot.


Tell Me What To Do?!

Effective communication requires the ability to give clear, thorough instructions. Being able to receive and follow instructions carefully is an equally valuable skill. Because robots function entirely off of pre-determined instructions, we will use this 2-week unit on robotics as a chance to practice giving and following linear instructions. Games and activities will require them to carefully follow instructions and culminate in them providing written instructions for their own "How-To" blog post.

Goals for this course:

  1. Students will learn the components of well-written instructions: defining terms, proper ordering of steps, and consideration of variables.
  2. Students will be able to follow written instructions that are new to them.
  3. Students will create instructions for a five-step "How-To" blog post.



In Build-A-Bot students will have the opportunity to construct a basic robot out of everyday parts. This project will require them to work together in a focused and intentional manner as they gain experience working with robotics.

Goals for this course:

  1. Students will gain experience in following a detailed tutorial by building a miniature strandbeest. (full size strandbeest: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsqlnGMzMD4
  2. Students will improve their coordination and fine motor skills by working with small parts.
  3. Students will improve their interpersonal awareness by working in pairs to accomplish a complicated task.


Tuesday / Friday Theme: "Japanese History"

Sushi Making:

This Creative Arts course builds upon the motor skills that we started developing in Japanese Script. Students are expected to be able to set up the materials and appropriately build a sushi roll. This will require precise use of their fingers and wrists, as well as thought through how they want their final roll to appear. Classes at a typical school will utilize two of the five senses: sight and touch. Sushi making adds smell and taste to the experience, allowing students to engage 80% of their senses while in class. The students will continue to deepen their cultural awareness and understanding by learning about the history of sushi making and how sushi came about as a food. Allowing students to try food from another culture helps build up their global consciousness, but by having them participate in the creation of the food they have the opportunity to bond with someone from another culture through their shared experiences.

The goals of this class are:

  1. Continued improvement upon finger dexterity and fine motor skills.
  2. Learn about different flavor profiles and palettes, specifically that of "umami."
  3. Continue becoming globally conscious through the introduction of different cultural foods. 



Japanese Architecture:

Students will explore the Japanese considerations of harmony through looking at the built environment. Students have learned in their Bible classes that ordering their environment is important; in this class they will see how that order can play out practically. By looking at the geometry behind the structure of the pagoda, students will learn where the strength of the structure comes from. They will also begin to think about how to make appropriate building considerations for different terrains and natural phenomena. Students will continue to develop fine motor skills as they make measurements on foam-board to create their own pagoda models. 

Goals for this course:

  1. Students will work in partners to construct their own Japanese pagoda building.
  2. Students will measure accurately using inches and feet.
  3. Students will work with scaling as they consider their miniature models and scale up to life size using multiplication.


Rock the Garden!:

In the context of studying Japanese culture, students will create rocking rock gardens, developing their spatial intelligence and creative capacity for form and unity. A study of bonsai trees will introduce the students to how the Japanese order their environments and we will correlate that to our responsibility to care for and order the environment around us. Time will also be spent considering the meditative aspect of zen gardens and how this translates into our times of prayer with the LORD.

The goals for this class are:

  1. Introduction to long-term cultivation.
  2. Connect the practice of maintaining a rock garden to maintaining unity in a form and ordering your environment. 
  3. Develop mental focus and meditation applied to a prayerful life and focus on God's ability to order an environment.


History of Japanese Gardens: 

In this Language Arts course students will be introduced to the History of Japanese gardens and the various elements of these gardens (i.e. Zen garden). Then, students will practice researching and write about their research in order to prepare a small presentation on their findings.

Not only will this class continue to develop each student's global consciousness, but will also develop their linguistic and natural faculties as they learn to sort through informational literature to find the main points or themes. They will also be able to learn more about nature and the types of gardens or plants found in Japan. The main manipulatives of this class will be a pencil and paper.

The goals for this course are:

  1. Students will be able to know the history of Japanese gardens.
  2. Students will be able to sort through informational literature to identify the main points.
  3. Students will be able to name different types of Japanese gardens.