Last year's trip to Costa Rica showed us that education can, and should, be a life-altering experience. This year, a largely new group of students, have decided to learn about and travel to Puerto Rico. With this new topic and destination in mind, we have developed a year-long interdisciplinary class that is based on the same three core principles:

1) Travel to expand students' horizons
2) An explicit connection between the classroom and real world
3) The use of sweat equity for students to see that their efforts can make a difference

During the early fall, the curriculum was largely focused on developing the 21st Century Skills of problem solving, critical thinking, decision-making, and collaboration. This was initially done using group challenges in the classroom, but then became vitally important once we started raking lawns. In addition to being our major fundraiser, this hard work put students in positions that required group problem solving, as well as perseverance and responsibility – traits that we all know are central to changing the trajectory of their lives.

During the winter and spring, each student will be developing an independent research project on a chosen aspect of Puerto Rico.
We hope that you will keep checking back as we share our learning, growth and adventures.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

My research has brought me to many differnet forts scattered across the island. I started with a list of about thirty and have recently made my last cut off. I'm now down to ten different forts each with at the least of two hundred years of history and war.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Shipwrecks in Puerto Rico

               Puerto Rico is well known for their wildlife and rain forests but what else is there to discover in this foreign land? What about under the ocean surrounding the small island? My project is about ship wrecks off the coasts of Puerto Rico. This is a very interesting topic to me. I have learned a lot of background information about the history of the island just by the kinds of ships and the history behind the way the they sank, or what they carried aboard the vessels. The most common ships I have read about are the spanish merchandise ships that carried hundred to thousands of pounds in gold and other valuables such as diamonds. The most amazing vessel I have discovered in my research would be the six passenger airplane that sunk in over 50 feet of water. The habitats that these ships have created for the sea life is absolutely amazing. Hundreds of different species of coral grow on these vessels and along with them come many different fish and other sea life. My next step in my research is going to be looking for a wreck that is close enough to the shore so that we can possibly visit it. Also I am looking into how these ships stay in the condition they are in after hundreds of years in the high acidic environment of the salty ocean.

Introduction To My Project

I have taken a poll from every one in my school to see what was the most interesting thing to do a project on and I got caves. Many people wanted me to do other things but in the end most wanted me to do caves. I have conducted a project that I want to do. I gathered different information about different things. So I want to use all of the information so I want to do a project on how they were formed, what life forms are inside of the caves, how the species live in there, and how the caves here and there are different. i have organized all of the information into different categories on what the information contains. I am very exited to go to Puerto Rico and learn all of the different things there is to learn down there. I want to do all the things there are to do down there. When we go I will be able to say I did something that means something to me.

Excitement and Titus!

I am getting so excited for the trip. My research has reassured me a bit that there aren't too many critters I need to worry about getting bit by. Although there is something called the Puerto Rican Giant Centipede... They're big, scary looking, AND venomous... Yikes!
In other news Titus molted over vacation. It was the most uneventful molt I have ever seen one night he was just sitting content in his terrarium, and then when I checked on him the next morning I saw him sitting next to his molt. When my other tarantula molted, she took about a day and a half and it was like was almost like waiting for a mother to deliver a baby (I was away and it was the first tarantula molt I experienced. I kept having my boyfriend update me on how she was doing every hour or so =P )Titus is about the size of the palm of my hand now, and has long legs and a small body almost like a baby horse. I can't wait until the next time I feed so then he'll get big and happy again =]