Tahoe Expedition Academy studentsshow off globally conscious projects | SierraSun.com

Tahoe Expedition Academy studentsshow off globally conscious projects

Special to the Sun

Tahoe Expedition Academy K-11 students presented their final first-semester projects at the school's Celebration of Learning on Feb. 2 at the North Lake Tahoe Event Center.

As part of the school's expedition-style curriculum, students are encouraged solve problems and develop products with a vision of making a difference in the world.

"We are creating the problem solvers of the 21st century," said Taylor Simmers, TEA founder and chief strategy officer. "We want our students to be part of something bigger than a school — we want them to be part of the Tahoe community, the Northern California community, and the world community."

TEA fifth-graders presented 3D models of their green homes, the result of a semester-long study of sustainability, alternative energy, energy efficiency and green building.

"We built these 3D models to show people you can still have a cool home that's green," said fifth-grader Ozzie Kroop, pointing to his house's green roof, solar panels, aquaponics pond and skate park.

Asked if the semester had changed any of his own habits, fifth-grader Logan Seoander said that he now keeps a note by his door reminding him to turn off the lights, and he put a note in his mom's car to remind her to buy LED light bulbs.

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"Florescent and incandescent light bulbs use more energy and are bad for the Earth," said Seoander.

In another room at the event, TEA's kindergarteners presented a toy, named Crabby, that the class designed as part of their "Make It Go" expedition," focused on studying the forces of motion.

Throughout the fall semester, the kindergarten class learned about push, pull, gravity and magnetism through a visit to the Tesla factory, a trip to KidZone and outdoor adventures like rock climbing. The expedition culminated in the design and making of Crabby, a wooden pull-toy, which will be for sale online soon.

"After the class went rock climbing, my daughter came home explaining how gravity works," said Peter Broomhall, father of a TEA kindergartener. "That kind of blew my mind."

Other final projects included the second grade's Wa She Shu expedition involving a memory game the class designed to learn about the culture and traditions of the Washoe people; new inventions created by eigth-graders as part of their Made in the USA expedition; and an amended Bill of Rights 11th-graders drafted and submitted to Senator Harry Reid.

A full list of students' final projects and more information about Tahoe Expedition Academy can be found at tahoeexpeditionacademy.org.