Expedition Earth

In Quest this session, Discovery Eagles have been on a geographical exploration of the world, getting their Ascent passports stamped as they travel from continent to continent, discovering new lands and cultures. These Quest days have led to the exploration of beadwork in Africa, building Igloos in Antarctica, and creating Rangoli in Asia. After traveling to six continents, each traveler took on the challenge of selecting a country to research on their own, diving deep to find and present reasons why their country should be chosen as the next National Geographic research location. As we head toward the end of the session, the geographers are wrapping up the research they will share with guests at the Global Expo Exhibition, where they will also find out whose country has been chosen as the next National Geographic research location.

The Discovery Eagles have discovered new languages, cuisines, and cultures by studying their countries, as well as overcome the challenges that accompany finding valuable information throughout the research process. As the learners have formed connections with how others live in the world, deep diving into the research of their respective countries has also brought up numerous questions connected to our Question of the Year: How Does a Hero Connect?  And the most consistent connection that has been expressed by the learners is how humans affect the Earth as well as how we can make more conscious decisions to care for nature.


Mural Artists in Discovery – Design Process

In Session 3, the heroes of Discovery were commissioned to redesign a mural on campus. They completed daily rounds of verbal feedback and found inspiration both on their campus and in their city.

The first step of their design process was to identify the area and get familiar with the space. Afterwards, they created a list of symbols and ideas that tell the story of their community and that represent Ascent Academy in a way that makes them feel proud. Small groups of artists who completed a bonus challenge each week even left campus to explore the many murals in Austin to bring ideas back to the group. Their challenge was to create a final mural design by the end of the 3 week session.

The design process was full of critique, collaboration, and innovation. Learners were faced with the challenges of giving and receiving feedback, as well as letting go of ideas that wouldn’t fit into this project. The first round of feedback began with 27 designs, where each learner created their own design or icons that they wanted to be included in the final mural design. The studio transformed into a gallery space in which artists laid their work out in lines, respectfully walked around to observe the art, and placed stickers on the art that they wanted to share feedback about. Using the framework “I like (    ) about (    ) because (    )” and “I wish (    ) about (    ) because (    ), artists shared verbal feedback for the 10 works with the most stickers. They were clear, concise, and thought of new ideas together. After completing that step, the artists received feedback from one of the founders and were challenged to consider what was connected to their experience at Ascent and what was not so relevant to this project. 

In round two of designing the Ascent mural, the artists met with their squads (6 groups), to bring their ideas together. By creating collages from the 27 works of art, the group created 6 designs, moving closer to their goal. In order to move toward one final design that the entire group could feel proud of, each collage was shared on the screen as everyone met in “group” to talk about what was working and what was not. The artists had innovative ideas to bring their creativity together, a crowd favorite being a “donut sun” representing the Challenge Donut, a tool that supports the learners in reflecting on their comfort zone, challenge zone, and panic zone. After 2 days of feedback and creating, the artists created one design, and faced their next challenge, approval from the rest of their community in the Spark Studio.

The Spark learners contributed their own experiences and ideas, adding elements like Spark play materials and disco balls to represent their Friday dance parties. After sharing their ideas to be added to the final design, the artists in Discovery completed their final round of approval with a unanimous “yes!” from the Spark learners.

Later in the week, families and friends were invited into the studio to see the design process in the form of a gallery. Afterward, a panel of Discovery artists, selected by the group, answered questions about the design process before revealing their final mural design! Finally, the artists prepared the space by priming the wall before leaving for the holiday break.

They are currently making progress painting the Ascent mural, which will be completed by mid-February.


The Story of Discovery

As we begin a new session equipped with all of the systems, goals, and accomplishments of Mission Discovery Launch, we come back to the question of the year, How Does a Hero Connect? Discovery learners have been making connections between themselves and those who lived 40,000 years ago in the start of Civilization. Like the first people on Earth, we all create, tell stories, and have core values and beliefs. The Heroes in Discovery created their own “cave painting” to tell the story of their community, that now covers the kitchen wall. They even made their own paint with natural materials in order to create their cave painting. Connections are being made between themselves and nature through campus care and art, where they are caring for campus outside of our studio walls. This session, Heroes have the opportunity to build the community they wish to see, through actions and systems, but also through their Architecture Quest in which groups of 2 will create their ideal Acton Academy Campus. There are more connections to me made, questions to discover, and models to be build over the course of session 2.



Discovery Studio: Go For Launch!

In the Discovery Studio this week, learners finished their last week of hero training in Mission Discovery. They worked hard to prepare their work and the studio to invite parents in to be part of the first exhibition of the year. Learners organized a poetry SLAM and open mic that they performed for their parents. They organized their art work and focus boards. They guided parents through core skills programs and badge plans. All of their work to create systems and LAUNCH this year came together in a beautiful signing of the contract ceremony, witnessed by fellow Eagles and parents. To end the session, all Ascent Eagles took part in an all play day, where they represented their team color, competed, cheered on one another, and had fun! Discovery Eagles are officially Go For Launch, and are ready to take on the rest of the year. IMG_8555

Mission: Discovery Talent Show

The Discovery studio opened its doors to many heroes who came to support Mission discovery. Beginning the week with jugglers, new talents and interests were experienced to kickstart inspiration for the mission ahead. This week in the Discovery Studio, heroes tapped into their passions and callings by preparing and putting on a talent show in which the Spark studio was invited to be our guests. Heroes started by thinking about their interests and passions before choosing a talent to present to an audience.

Accomplishing missions as a community, Heroes earned technology certifications and began working in their Core Skills programs. They overcame challenges and supported each other to begin Core Skills TOGETHER! In art and PD, heroes learned new skills in cross stitching and found their flow in outdoor activities. As heroes begin setting SMART Goals, we are very much on our way to a successful Launch and a great year ahead!


Welcome to Mission Discovery

We have completed our first full week of Mission Discovery that was kicked off by team building, setting goals and expectations, and LIP DUB. Last week, Discovery created a lip dub (a one take music video) to Sunday Best by Surfaces using the entire campus and including every member of the community. Learners started creating a community contract and took on missions to help them better know their community members and introduce them to our question of the year: How Does a Hero Connect? They solved problems and asked questions that will be the guiding foundation for how we navigate this year of Mission Discover.

Year 3. Session 7. Week 6.

Year 3. Session 7. Week 5.

Year 3. Session 7. Week 4.

Year 3. Session 7. Week 3.