Every 6-7 weeks, students experience an Entry Point, an opening into the theme that is taught in all their classes at St. Stephen's IMYC program.
The students do not know what the theme is; rather they use the Entry Point as a clue into what they will be studying. The 7th graders pictured were given sets of Legos that had directions that were removed as were pictures. They were told to build a specific thing. Teachers are there to help and guide the process. They may use words that relate to the Big Idea without students even realizing the link. For the 7th graders, their Big Idea is Structure.
The 8th graders were asked to play the newly popular 'Pie in the Face' game. They had to make choices based on their spins: either risk getting pied with whipped cream by doing the number of clicks spun or reduce the clicks and get fewer points. Much like a risk versus reward situation. Out of 12 students, only one managed to avoid getting 'creamed' based on his choices. The Big Idea: Consequences.
Both groups debrief about the activity with lead teachers, Mr. Michael Stambaugh and Mrs. Jamie Shick. They create a mind-map that outlines and links all the subjects to the thread of the Big Ideas. This helps the students see the connections forthcoming in all their courses.