As part of the Lower School Focus Week on “Everything Underground”, the Upper School Design and Innovation Lab students were engaged to help build a two-story “mine” in the Project Space. Using old wooden pallets, some wood screws and plywood, the productive students constructed the mine in less than three days with the guidance of Chris Hartman. Once the frame for the mine was built, ladders between the levels needed to be added, then cardboard was stapled to the roof and side walls. The students in Project Based Learning (3rd and 4th graders) were learning about mines, what materials are mined in the United States, and in what quantities. Seth O’Bryan spent three days working with the PBL students to compute and convert metric tons of mined materials to average student/Harley weights to help bring the quantity of what is mined into a familiar context. The PBL students were responsible for researching assigned materials, then made informative posters about them. These were attached to the outside of the mine, while “deposits” were stashed for the finding inside the mine tunnels.
During Focus Week, the PBL student guided classes of Lower School students through the mine on mini-scavenger hunts. After Focus Week, the mine was deconstructed by these same hard-working Design and Innovation lab students to once again open up the Project Space for other work.