One of the things that we’re pretty proud of at the middle school is that we use the resources in our community as supplements to our program. This not only allows our students to form a greater connection to their community (something that’s important for middle schoolers), but also broadens the resources that are available to them.
We use the Tacoma Public Library a lot throughout the year for research, students’ personal reading, and extension activities in Social Studies and Science. This week, we were lucky enough to get a tour of the library from the Teen Librarian at the Tacoma Public Library. Ms. Holloway showed the middle schoolers how to work the library’s catalog system and narrow their search to find what they need, went over the myriad of resources available online, and gave us a tour of the Northwest Room and some of the unique features of the library. For example, did you know that they have a time capsule of human hair that will (hopefully) be opened in the year 3000? That way, civilization in the year 3000 will have a genetic record of us.
This week, we were also able to go to the Lower School campus to use their newly created Makers’ Space! This is an area filled with odds and ends that students can tinker with and put together. Makers’ spaces encourage engineering, creativity, and spacial awareness. We had students create miniature zip-lines, futuristic looking vehicles, and some beautifully decorated flower pots. Middle schoolers are also allowed to use basic tools, and it turns out we have some stealth woodworkers in the group!