GTEC Catapult Day, October 2011. Aden prepares his unique trebuchet for action...
I work in a teaching and learning environment which is special in all sorts of ways, but probably the most special thing of all about it is what our 17 and 18-year-old (so-called 'disengaged learners') manage to achieve.
Let me tell and show a little story about a student named Aden Nadoh, one of our GTEC Year 12 VCAL (Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning) Building and Construction students...
Let's start with a quick interview I did with Aden in June, as part of the Oral Communication section of his curriculum (Outcome: Oracy for Practical Purposes), when he was just getting into the workshop to actually start building the catapult he'd finished designing through meticulous work with CAD (Computer Assisted Design):
There were all sorts of other tasks integrated into this project across several subjects. In the Literacy strand (for example), the students needed to complete design briefs, essays about the history of various catapult designs, assembly instructions, safe operating procedures and evaluations, etc.
Anyway, back to the story...
Five months later, I watched Aden testing out his finished catapult in the school courtyard (with adequate safety precautions in place, of course) and made the prediction he would get a distance of 100-150 metres in the official Catapult Day competition our design and tech teachers had so painstakingly organised.
Brett Smith (one of our carpentry teachers) scoffed in the staff meeting when I announced this prediction, and enjoyed a series of jokes about how the literacy teacher had no skills in numeracy or estimation (hey: this is an Aussie staff room after all!).
Rightio Smithy... Watch and see what happened on Catapult Day:
125 metres on the full. Well and truly beyond 150 metres once the projectile had stopped rolling!
Not bad estimation skills for a mere literacy teacher, eh?
And I think this pic shows (in addition to the secret mechanism that makes Aden's catapult so effective) just how well our wood and metal teachers pass on skills to our students:
Anyway, congrats to Aden on a brilliant piece of work from start to finish, and congrats to the design/tech/wood/metal teachers who helped him achieve it.
Never underestimate your students!!!