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Productivity, Neuroscience, and Deliberate Practice: Deep Work and School (Part 2)

By Dr. Colleen Worrell, Director of the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning

Productivity, Neuroscience, and Deliberate Practice: Deep Work and School (Part 2)

With the school year off to a frenetic start, I am returning to the topic of deep work, which I wrote about in LEO last September. My article, “Make Deep Work Your Super Power,” was supposed to be the first in a series of posts that would connect Georgetown Professor Cal Newport’s book Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World to school and learning. “Deep work” is the ability to focus deeply on a challenging task for a specific period of time, blocking out all distractions in order to get stuff done efficiently and well. The fact that I’m writing part 2 of the “series” one year later proves that I have yet to master this skill. Indeed, my failure to build deep work into my own practice is, in part, what motivates this post. (more…)

Carbon Dioxide vs. The Ocean

By Laura Drepanos, IV Form

Carbon Dioxide vs. The Ocean: What I learned at the High School Marine Science Symposium

Are the ocean’s problems really my problems?

This was the only question going through my head as I pulled up to front circle two days before March break at 6:50 in the morning.

The short answer: yes.

When Ms. Lohwater announced at school meeting that there was an opportunity to go to the High School Marine Science Symposium (HSMSS) at Northeastern University, I immediately took it. I have always loved learning about the ocean and visiting the Wood’s Hole Oceanographic Institution since I was young. Missing a day of classes for this at the end of the academic window required an overwhelming amount of planning ahead: I had to take tests on my own time and finish all of my assignments. However, I left the HSMSS with many takeaways that made it all worth it.

My first takeaway: Sea Acidification is very real. (more…)

Sea Acidification

By Jiawen (Angela) Li, IV Form

Sea Acidification

Editor’s Note: This is the assignment prompt for a unit on ecology–You will be given one week of class and homework time to investigate a topic of your choosing that relates to ecological or environmental sustainability. The goal will be to research the topic in depth and produce a final product that displays your understanding of the concept. You may choose to produce a video, Prezi, infographic, children’s book, or paper.

sea-acidification-1Angela’s pre-reflection: I chose the topic Sea Acidification because I was intrigued by the podcast about how oysters are affected by seawater acidification, and I wanted to know more about how it also affects other species, especially how it affects marine food chain/web. I hope to gain more knowledge on how seawater acidification generally affects marine life and expand my understanding from oysters to a larger variety of organisms. I wish to produce a piece of informative work including the introduction of seawater acidification, explanation of how it works, and details as to what the effects on the sea life are. This is related to these units because it expands on the “Science Friday” podcast on oysters and is connected with food webs, sustainability, and ecosystems. I’ll be working on my own, because I want to work on an infographic and working in pairs really slows the process down and complicates matters unnecessarily, and there could be an uneven distribution of work. My strategy would be to learn from my last experience with making an infographic, dividing my work into clear sections, maybe three to five, before doing research to be more efficient.

See the large infographic below! (more…)

Watching Whales

By U Jin Jo, IV Form

Watching Whales

Editor’s Note: This reflection is from a STEAM field trip (Studio I Art class + Exploratory Sciences: Land and Sea class) to the New England Aquarium.

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The cold air sprays into our visages as we step on board, the excitement barely hidden under our coats. Buildings are still in sight, and the engine seems to beat along with my heart. Airplanes fly high as we sit in silence.  The boat slowly drifts against the water’s will, as if it is right where it is supposed to be. It flows with its own stream, with its own rhythm. The engine’s sound is different from its surroundings – more defined, as if to to

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reassure its presence. The air is so strong that it seems like an uncontrollable storm. We bundle up as if the wind has instructed us to do so. The more we push against the water’s will, the more the wind pushes back. Trying to stay balanced, we stare at each other mischievously as if we are about to do something dangerous. Finally, the time that we have been waiting for arrives. After about 30 minutes of the bitter, cold boat ride, we see the first whale. (more…)

Veganism: The World Keeps Spinning Whether One Eats Meat or Not

By Jamie Lance, V Form

 

Veganism: The World Keeps Spinning Whether One Eats Meat or Not

Unfortunately, instead of speaking up about being vegan, I often feel the need to remain silent to avoid falling victim to stereotyping.

In the world we live in, cruel treatment of animals and unsustainable practices dictate both our present and our future. Deforestation is a legitimate problem with irrefutable effects. One and a half acres of trees are destroyed each second, resulting in a loss of biodiversity that contributes to vaccine research, greenhouse gas absorption, and oxygen production. If current rates continue, estimates indicate that no rainforests will be left by the year 2120. [1] Despite the significant effects of deforestation, a single factor drives the continuation of this practice: agriculture. The primary use of the cleared land is to create soybean farms, which are utilized in the production of a protein-rich food supplement for livestock kept in feedlots. 33% of all arable, or farmable, land is used for animal (more…)

Stories From the Soil: Three Months on Joe’s Brook Farm

Henry Hirschfeld, VI Form

Stories From the Soil: Three Months on Joe’s Brook Farm

For the past four summers, I have had the opportunity to learn, live, and work on aimg_0101 twelve-acre organic vegetable farm in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. With five of the most honest, loving, and hardworking young adults I know, I grew, weeded, and harvested over fifty varieties of produces for nine hours, six days a week. This past summer, I was able to spend nearly my entire vacation working at Joe’s Brook Farm with my older sister Cora. With the generous Class of 1968 Fellowship, I went to the farm hoping to document my experience in order to share with family, friends, and St. Mark’s. (more…)