Within our expeditionary art sessions in Year 9 we would like students to use the Pixlr app to create some digital artwork.
This is a free and fantastic online image editing app. By doing this it will allow all students to work on the same platform regardless of the device being used.

Students need to sign up for an account, however it specifies that users should be over the age of 16. This is a condition of the app creators, however there are no inherent risks in using the software. Essentially it is an online photoshop equivalent.

Could you please complete this short Google Form to let us know if you give permission for your son/daughter to sign up for an account and use the app.

If you have any questions please contact jdoyle@xpschool.org

Thanks as always for your support.

Y9 Student of the Week

Year 9 student of the week goes to Luke in Crew Stan Lee.

Luke you have been nominated by myself and several of your teachers for working so hard this week and term in sessions and preparing for your Passage Presentation.

We have been really impressed with your contributions during online sessions, your improved attendance online compared to the previous lockdown and the mature manner in which you have prepared yourself for Passage.

Mrs Pullham has expressed how proud she is of you and how impressed she is with your attitude to learning. I am looking forward to being a part of your Passage Presentation and hearing you reflect on your journey through XP.

It won’t be long before we return to school. Let’s keep up this impressive attitude to learning when we return to school. It will have a significant impact on your HOWLS and academic grades if you continue the way you have started this term.

Very impressed young man! Well done. 🙂

Unfortunately, due to X25 having to self-isolate over the last month, we are having to postpone the presentation of learning that was scheduled to go live tonight until the new year.

We’ll be sharing a new calendar event over the break to reschedule the online stream in January, we look forward to presenting the work that the Y9s have produced. Thank you for your continued support!

X25 Y9 Bubble Closure Timetable

Following the closure of our Y9/X25 bubble, we will now move to an online educational provision as shown below – this has proved to be highly effective in supporting students in other year bubble closures as engagement rates have regularly been above 95%.

Here is our protocol for online learning:

  • all Crew sessions and lessons will take place LIVE via Google Hangout and the timetable is highlighted below.
  • students will receive input from teachers and have time to complete activities on Google Classroom.
  • students are registered in Crew (8.30am), at the beginning of the morning session (9.15am) and afternoon session (1.15pm).
  • all students are expected to join each session.  If a student is absent, Crew Leaders will contact home to ascertain the reason why. If a student is unable to join a session, for example, they are unwell, we ask parents to please contact the office.
  • Crew Leaders and Expedition teachers will send Google Hangout invitations to their classes.
  • invites for live sessions will be sent through email.

C25: Out here in the fields

Our year 9 students were lucky enough to get out on fieldwork on the final week of term to complete work relating to their ‘Welcome to the machine’ expedition. Over the next seven weeks of the winter term, they will be working on their answer to the guiding question:

‘Do the benefits of industrialisation outweigh the costs?’

For their first STEAM case studies, students have been looking at conservation data, learning about how data can be collected and displayed using multiple representations. They have also been learning about specialisation and ecosystem management.

They visited The Hatfield Moors, our local nature reserve, to examine the extent of the fire damage from earlier this year. Students have been learning about the protected species that can be found at the site, particularly the adder, and how Natural England and the fire service prioritised safeguarding these species during the clear up operation.

While at the site, students conducted a series of sampling techniques, as well as collecting data on the wildlife. Sadly, due to slight delays in being able to visit the site, we weren’t able to spot any adders as they have likely gone into hibernation for the winter, however, students were still able to find other species key to maintaining and supporting the ecosystem at the wetland.

Students also conducted a number of tests on the site, in accordance with their two daily learning targets for the day:

1. I can estimate the population density of a species using random sampling techniques.

Students engaged in data collection of various parts of the site, using quadrats to provide increasingly accurate estimations of species numbers in the areas we sampled. We created a set of axes, used a random number generator to find coordinates to sample, and collected the data from those coordinates.

After collecting data in teams of three, we used all the data collected to calculate the predicted species number, based on scaling up the measurements to accommodate the size of the field. In debrief, due to a large range in answers, we went on to calculate the mean for those estimations, to create a more accurate estimation. We also discussed why using the random number generator was fundamental in keeping our research free from bias.

2. I can investigate the effects of abiotic factors using systematic sampling techniques.

Students then went on to conduct a series of pH tests on the wetlands, again using their quadrats placed along a transect, to link changes in species to abiotic factors of the wetlands. In debrief, we examined the data, looking for patterns relating to the abundance of the plant species and the abiotic factor recorded.

I feel incredibly fortunate that we were able to make it out to the site given the current circumstances, and I really look forward to hear how the work the students have done on this series of case studies will inform their guiding question answers over the coming weeks.

Very special visitors to X25 this week

In our case study ‘Snakes on a plain’, we have been learning about the adders at Hatfield Moor and how they have been so successful by occupying a niche in nature as a cold climate snake. In the coming weeks we will look at the fire at Hatfield, most likely caused by careless human action, and how the coordinated response from the Local Authority, Natural England and the Fire Service worked tirelessly to protect this important natural wonder on our doorstep in Doncaster.

To deepen our studies, this week students in X25 welcomed experts from Sam’s Safaris into school. Zoe and Joy brought with them some even more special guests. We met a range of reptiles, amphibians and mammals so that students could learn more about how they are adapted to their environments, how they are dependent upon other species and the impact that humans are having on their ecosystems (both positive and negative).

Some of the brilliant insights we gained into adaptations included the Jacobson’s organ in snakes, and how they are able to ‘taste’ the air. We also learned how chinchillas have adapted to their cold environment by having 60 hairs sprout from each of their follicles compared to just one hair per follicle in humans (or none in the case of some of our more veteran teachers). The mountain kingsnake was a particular favourite, with its bright colours mimicking a venomous coral snake to ward off potential predators.

We also heard about how deforestation – often to clear land for palm oil farms – was having a devastating impact on geckos, and how insecticides were causing damage to microbial ecosystems in the soil.

On a more positive note, our experts described how conservation work was helping to protect species, and how young people are more engaged than ever before in helping to protect the wonders of nature on which we are all entirely dependent.

Our experts were knowledgeable and showed great care towards the animals, helping some students (and staff) to overcome their fears too.

Almost everyone fell in love with Scrabble the chinchilla. Mr Doyle said his favourite was the gerbil though; what’s that about?!?

X25 Year 9 Fieldwork

Year 9 will be going on fieldwork on 13th October as part of their ‘Welcome to the Machine’ expedition. We’ll be leaving school at 9:30AM and returning at 3:00PM, so this will not affect their drop off or pick up times, however, due to the pandemic, we ask that all students have guardian consent for them to attend.

We’ll be visiting Hatfield Moors, to collect species data and conduct scientific tests on the peatland during the day. We will be maintaining the bubbles, and wearing masks on the coaches to minimise risk of transmission, and we will be outside all day.

As part of the precautions, we ask that you fill in the following google forms, granting permission for students to attend the fieldwork on 13th October:

This outlines that if your child falls ill with covid symptoms on that day, they would need collecting from Hatfield Moors (about 40 minute drive from the school).

They will need packed lunches (school will provide FSM pack-ups), a face mask, warm layers, decent shoes and a waterproof on the day.

If you have any questions about the plans for the day or concerns, don’t hesitate to email me (jnixon@xpschool.org)

 

X26 & X25 Coming Back Stronger!

It is wonderful to welcome back our students in Year 8 and 9 today, they have certainly returned with renewed energy and enthusiasm!

Today, is all about Crew.  Students have been spending their time today reflecting on the past few months, learning how to keep themselves safe whilst in school and most importantly reconnecting as a Crew.

I have had the pleasure of spending time in each of the Crew’s and it is great to see the students engaged, working collaboratively and happy!

What a way to start the year! #Comingbackstronger

 

8 Skipper’s oil pastel sky

Year 8 have been working hard this week on an Art assessment for their expedition “I’ve got the Power”.  Students have been experimenting with oil pastels, learning how to blend colours and create texture.  In this assessment they had to work from a photographic source to create their own image relating to power generation.  Here, you can see members of 8 Skipper producing beautiful work for their assessed pieces.