mice, maps, games, and comics

This morning, the mouse group from the Coyotes, Clementine, Lucy, and Noah, presented their hard work in creating houses for mice and learning the answers to their big question, “What do mice like?” They took turns to tell us the story of the project’s origins and explained the steps they took to create a friendly environment for their mice. They were very level-headed when they explained that one mouse had died because of territorial wars in the mouse mansion, and showed us the maps they made based on the time-lapse maps from Stamen design to show where their mice moved in their new home.

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Eight Sand Leopards presented their projects this afternoon. Their work was clearly inspired by their explorations from the arc and they showed off the hard work that comes from asking big questions.

Thea displayed her collage mural of Italy, which was based on her trip to Italy a few weeks ago. She modge-podged maps of Venice and Florence around a central map of Italy and explained that the words around the map represented the things she saw there, namely the art and the marble. She used mixed media to complete her project and told us that she felt she had improved as an artist since the beginning of the year because she was more deliberate and careful with the artistic choices she made while creating this piece.

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Coke showed off his four comic book pages that he wrote and drew during Expression while trying to answer the big question, “How do I make a comic about extraterrestrial life?” He told us how he worked with his expert Caroline to come up with new techniques and ideas for his storyline and the illustrations. The story, as yet unfinished, is about an explorer who visits a new planet and is mapping the terrain while running into various mishaps.

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Theo created a trivia board game based on a map of the world, with questions about food, music, and other special cultural aspects from different countries around the world. He told us that the story of the game is that the player is a kid failing in school. There’s no power, so you can’t use the internet, so in order to pass into eighth grade, you have to travel the world to bring back fifteen facts about different countries.

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Meg used her expression phase to do a research project on the future of human evolution. She worked with Uyen, who knows a lot about evolution, to look at what changes we can already see in different species and read more about what evolutionary scientists predict will happen with humans. She learned there are two hypotheses: that, based on the large, non-isolated population that humans are, they will either continue to evolve but slowly, or stop entirely. She thinks humans will either die out, stop evolving, develop exaggerated features, or become a mix of all races.

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William talked about the role-playing game he created during Expression called “Natives,” which is based on Native American spirit mythology and the role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons. He explained that a player first starts out in a village and through a long series of decisions on different challenges, become involved in hunting for food, bigger and more high-stakes battles, and dangerous quests. He and Coke demonstrated game play and added that playing epic music in the background was one of the major rules.

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Frances asked the question, “Does the Brightworks community prefer organic or non-organic ingredients?” and used her lunch-making experiment for two Tuesdays to test her hypothesis that people at Brightworks would prefer the taste of an organic-based meal. It was true! Looking at surveys she took on both Tuesdays, she discovered that students and staff could tell the difference in flavor between the two meals, although she admitted that there were some variables, like too much Green Goddess dressing, that might have skewed her data. She gave us a brief history of organic food and said she’d been inspired by the locavore meal the Sand Leopards cooked during Exploration.

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Audrey talked about her family ancestry project, both the non-fiction aspects and the fantasy map aspects. Because she was interested both in family history and writing stories, she combined her curiosities to create two parallel stories, one based on family history and the other about another world based on the locations that her family lived. She worked a lot with her grandmother and discovered that the Portuguese part of her family is from an island called the Azores.

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Kaia presented her animal migration map where she had drawn the migration patterns of arctic terns and humpback whales. She told us about all the research she did with facts about the habits of each type of animals’ migration, saying that animals tend to follow migration patterns when food sources change or the weather becomes too cold. She said she used books and internet materials to do her research and had to use correct citations to keep track of the research, and would include more animals on her map next time.

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