Genius Hour

The students have chosen individual projects and skills they want to develop and will have dedicated time each week to pursue these. Groups have coalesced around different themes including illustration, architecture, baking, sewing and programming.


Nufonia Must Fall

This week we were fortunate to attend a production of Nufonia Must Fall, a story of a soon to be obsolete, headphone wearing robot who falls in love with a girl in his office. The production was unique in that it was filmed in real-time, with puppets being manipulated on miniature stages and projected for the audience to see. The score was done by the creator, Kid Koala and the Cecilia Quartet, incorporating piano, strings and turntables into the action. Many of the students commented on how much they enjoyed seeing the film from the different perspectives and making connections between the individual scenes and how the artists manipulated objects to create movement.


Visit with Chickens

We were lucky to visit Andrew’s house this week to learn more about caring for chickens. The hands-on experience provided the students with an opportunity to observe and interact with the chickens and their space. We will take what we have learned and draft our presentation for city council next week.

Many thanks to Andrew, Miriam and their parents for welcoming us and sharing their knowledge. I also want to thank Clara for her work as our photographer.






One aspect of understanding systems is understanding the emergent properties that result from the interactions between the parts. This can be summed up by the phrase, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” What makes emergent properties so fascinating is that the effect is often undetectable by simply observing the individual components.

Our exploration of this concept began with an episode of Radiolab and a couple of stories of emergence in the insect world including the synchronized flashes of certain populations of fireflies and the sophistication of ant colonies.

We also observed murmurations of starlings and read Mary Oliver’s, Starlings in Winter with an initial focus on the feelings the poem elicited in us. We will return to the poem next week to take note of the way she uses imagery, metaphor and repetition.

Starlings in Winter

by Mary Oliver

Chunky and noisy,
but with stars in their black feathers,
they spring from the telephone wire
and instantly

they are acrobats
in the freezing wind.
And now, in the theater of air,
they swing over buildings,

dipping and rising;
they float like one stippled star
that opens,
becomes for a moment fragmented,

then closes again;
and you watch
and you try
but you simply can’t imagine

how they do it
with no articulated instruction, no pause,
only the silent confirmation
that they are this notable thing,

this wheel of many parts, that can rise and spin
over and over again,
full of gorgeous life.
Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us,

even in the leafless winter,
even in the ashy city.
I am thinking now
of grief, and of getting past it;

I feel my boots
trying to leave the ground,
I feel my heart
pumping hard, I want

to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable, beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.