Discovery Year 5. Session 5. Week 2.


Learners tried out their first whole week of a Work Cycle that starts with a silent 30 minutes. Here’s what Heroes had to say about it during one-on-one reflection. One studio member shared, “It’s great, I love it! It makes me focus and calms my body, but it’s really hard when the silence ends and we transition back to regular Work Cycle. Sometimes I can’t find flow again.” Another learner commented, “I wish it were longer! It should be an hour!” 



This week in Quest, Discoverers became Hydrologists! The Studio explored streamflow, aquifers, groundwater and the story of Hydrology. On Tuesday, Discovery scientists experimented in the Spark Play sand pit. The experiment involved creating streams, sending objects down the water, recording travel times across three trials, and then taking the average. On Wednesday, Squads created aquifers in a jar by layering natural materials, simulating rainfall, and then withdrawing groundwater using syringes and plastic tubing.


Heroes began working on their first short stories of the Session in Writers’ Workshop. The Week 2 prompt challenged learners to draft a story about an animal and to include facts about the selected animal within their writing. The Studio also learned about Pixar’s story structure and the function of a preposition! 

Have a wonderful weekend!

Discovery Year 5. Session 5. Week 1.

Discoverers returned to campus with joy and purpose. From short stories to geology expeditions, here’s how the tribe set sail for Session 5. 


Whether spending time in the Montessori area, finding flow in a learning program, or getting lost in the world of a badge book, learners were eager to resume work towards their goals. Discovery Heroes are feeling the collective call to make changes in their Work Cycle, hoping to raise intentionality in the Studio. In Town Hall on Thursday, one studio member proposed the idea of a silent Work Cycle. Points were made in agreement and opposition to the proposal before taking a vote. The majority of the Studio voted in favor and plans to reflect on the effects of this shift at next week’s Town Hall. 


Wednesday marked the launch of Geology Quest! As Geologists on a rescue mission, learners will face a different impending geological disaster each week. Discovery scientists will work towards preventing the disaster through a series of squad challenges. The Week 1 challenge: design an earthquake-resistant structure for a community of artists living on the coast of Chile. To start, study the science behind earthquakes and tectonic plate movement. If the research is accurate and the experimentation is executed excellently, Discovery geologists will save the day. Stay tuned to see how each rescue mission turns out.


In the words of English novelist and short story writer Neil Gaiman, “Short stories are tiny windows into other worlds and other minds and other dreams. They are journeys you can make to the far side of the universe and be back in time for dinner.” Discovery Heroes are embarking upon the journey of writing their own short stories this session. This week, the Studio explored brainstorming tools to generate ideas while learning about plot mountains, the basic structure of a story. 

And just like that, the Session 5 adventure begins! 


Discovery Year 5. Session 4. Week 6.

Session 4 momentum peaked this week. Glimpse how Discovery Heroes landed their learning with passion and power. 


Do you prefer games of luck or games of skill? What makes a board game so great that you can’t stop playing? Can you identify which visual aspects of game design immediately catch your eye, draw you in, and spark your curiosity? At Session 4’s Exhibition of Learning, guests challenged themselves to answer these questions as they moved through the Board Game Expo. Sixteen excellent games were on display, all competing against one another to win votes in four distinct categories. The culmination of 6 weeks of energy, attention, and care was clear for all to see. Nice work, designers! 



Discovery poets summoned courage and creativity for the Writers’ Workshop portion of Exhibition. Learners shared the writing they felt most proud of from Session 4. Many displayed great eloquence through heartwarming odes; others harnessed sharp wit into humorous haikus. Writers’ Workshop is a consistently brave space where individuals are encouraged to share their inner world through written and spoken word. Discovery Heroes showcased this by extending an open mic invitation to their guests: hop in the line and try your hand at poetry (p.s. it’s harder than it looks!) 



Learners in Discovery set and reflect on personal SMART goals each day during the Work Cycle. In this session, the Studio began discussing how these daily aspirations can build upon one another, ultimately leading to long-term achievement. One Discoverer shared, “I’m motivated to set strong goals right now because I really want to earn my first badge.” Another Hero stated, “I guess I just want to grow my brain and get smarter.” Whatever the reason may be, it is clear that Heroes in the space are stepping into further autonomy. By taking complete control of their learning, young people can take control of their journey and, ultimately, their destiny.

We commend the Studio on their excellent work. We extend the utmost gratitude to all who support this space. Cheers to an epic session! 


Discovery Year 5. Session 4. Week 5.

Week 5 brought epic challenges and great rewards as the tribe blazed new trails in Work Cycle, Quest, and Writers’ Workshop. 


In Work Cycle, the Studio identified and explored avoidance. Through one-on-one check-ins, Discovery learners navigated the natural resistance that arises when working toward a goal. They were challenged to reflect on how this is showing up in their own Work Cycle and their goal-setting. Which programs are you avoiding? Which goals do you feel the most resistance to? Most importantly, what is it exactly about these areas of life and learning that feel so intimidating, boring, or confusing to you? The work for Discoverers now lies in abandoning a victim mindset and stepping fully into the role of a Hero who can overcome any adversity. 


Many Discovery designers are moving from the prototyping phase of game development into the playtesting phase, a time to gather valuable feedback from Fellow Travelers. In an exciting, energetic challenge, design pairs attempted to play a game they had never played before, with a twist, of course: try to play without reading the instructions. When reflecting on how it feels to play a game with no rules, one learner shared, “It’s super fun but also scary and kind of confusing.” This experience gave the game designers insight into the importance of creating clear guidelines for players. 


“An Ode to the Whole World.” “An Ode to My Mom.” “Ode to Bugs and Worms.” These are just a few of the pieces written by the Poets in Discovery this week. Learners are continuing their journey through different styles of poetry and landed on the ode in Week 5. This celebratory, and at times, sentimental genre allowed writers to dive deep into their own emotional and intellectual landscape while searching for the words to express what they feel within.

Only one question remains: who’s ready for Week 6?! 

Discovery Year 5. Session 4. Week 4.

This week in Discovery, learners continued working towards their goals in Work Cycle, creating board games in Quest and crafting poems in Writers’ Workshop! 


During Socratic Discussion, Heroes identified which part of their work cycle allows them to find the deepest flow; or as one learner described, “really gets me in the zone.” The Studio shared what flow feels like internally, with many relating to the experience of losing track of time while in deep flow. Finally, Discovery learners dug deep into the psychological and environmental factors that pull them out of flow. This conversation opened a healthy communication channel for the tribe to get clear on what they need from their Fellow Travelers during Work Cycle. 



The day has finally arrived! Mid-afternoon on Monday, Discovery game designers began imagining games for the Board Game Expo, taking place at the Session 4 Exhibition. Using knowledge gained from creating games of luck and games of skill, designers initiated the creative process of making their final product. Working in pairs, Heroes conceptualized each element of their games by completing the Game Designer Guide. This planning tool supported the Studio in deciding the layout of the board, the number of players, the age range of their target audience, the storyline or theme, the rules of play, and the objective! 



In week 4, Discovery Poets explored nursery rhymes. Using a classic Mother Goose collection for reference, learners were challenged to create a poem/song of their own in the style of a nursery rhyme. Writers found inspiration in animals, numbers, objects, places, and characters. During debriefs at the conclusion of Writers’ Workshop, Heroes bravely shared their writing and received peer reviews in the form of warm and cool feedback. 


Have a restful weekend, Discovery community! 


Discovery Year 5. Session 4. Week 3.

Time is flying by in Discovery! Read below to find out just what themes Heroes are exploring at the halfway point of Session 4. 


Freedom Levels were in full effect during this week’s Work Cycle. As some Discovery learners ski along the green slope, many are trying out the blue slope, and a few members of the tribe challenge themselves by skiing blacks. The Freedom Levels System helps Heroes understand the consequences of their choices each day. The choices to work hard, help others, and lead our community will build strength of character and lead to joy through personal achievement. In a week where a learner displays great readiness for responsibility, they are, in turn, displaying readiness for true freedom. 


Can you build a 12-inch Lego structure in under 1 minute? How many animals that start with the letter “E” can you list in 30 seconds? These are the challenges Discovery game designers posed to their Fellow Travelers in Week 3 of Quest: Games of Skill! The prompt may seem simple, but the execution of a skills game is tougher than it looks. Designers rose to the occasion using their innovation, collaboration, and grit. 


Poets in Discovery took a deep dive into another writing style this week: diamante poems. This poetry style gets its name from its iconic diamond shape. Writers crafted poetry, gathering inspiration from the world around them. The Studio also developed their writing skills in identifying parts of speech and in adjusting the word count of each line to meet the specific requirements of diamante poetry. 

Even in the freezing weather, the flame of the tribe shone brightly in Discovery. 

Discovery Year 5. Session 4. Week 2.

Discovery Heroes moved through Week 2 with powerful momentum. Stay tuned to see how the Studio braved new challenges in Work Cycle, Quest, and Writers’ Workshop! 


The integrated Work Cycle experiment continued this week. Learners are exploring what it looks and feels like to navigate a three hour work cycle for the first time. Work Cycle changes this session have been a rich learning opportunity. In the midst of continuing progress toward their goals, the Studio reflected on finding flow, losing flow, releasing energy, and channeling energy. 


Do you believe in luck? Do you consider yourself a lucky person? These were the questions Discovery game designers grappled with this week during Quest. The tribe began considering the level of luck they will incorporate into their own games. Through the creation of fast paced dice and target games, designers gained a deeper understanding of probability and chance. 


This week’s poetry deep dive: haikus! The Studio found examples and inspiration by reading, If Not for the Cat by Jack Prelutsky and Zen Ties by Jon J. Muth. If you walked into the space during Writers’ Workshop, you’re likely to hear scattered clapping around the Studio. Writers supported one another with conceptualizing and counting syllables as they crafted their own poems. 

Discovery Year 5. Session 4. Week 1.

Session 4 is here! Continue reading to see how Discovery Heroes kicked off a new year with new systems. 


The Work Cycle, like every part of the studio schedule, undergoes constant evolution. The greatest shift this session came through the badge plan. Montessori works are now incorporated into reading, language, and math badges. This shift is reflected in the freedom to float through the Work Cycle, meaning the freedom to choose how you spend your time, either in the Montessori area or in software programs. Feedback, reflection, and observation were key ingredients in making the change to an integrated Work Cycle. This is one of many opportunities for Discoverers to take greater ownership of their learning, their work, and their time. 



This week, Heroes launched the first Writers’ Workshop of the year! Throughout the session, the Studio will focus on poems, taking a deep dive into many forms of poetry; ultimately creating a collection of their excellent writing. Writers will display their collections at the Exhibition of Learning! 


The Studio was bursting with excitement for Game Design Quest. In their first challenge, learners re-designed classic arcade games. In the weeks to come, Discoverers will work in pairs to create games of luck and games of skill. Culminating in the invention of their very own board game!


Learners bravely created new systems and adapted existing ones. Every session in Discovery kicks off with an election. As an act of self-governance, the Studio votes on Town Council, Hero Buck Council, Lunch Hosts, Squad Leaders, and a timekeeper to keep the community on schedule. Members of these committees dedicate additional time, energy, and leadership to building the tribe and maintaining a civil society. Beyond these Systems of Accountability, learners also began re-imagining their Rules of Engagement to elevate and cultivate Socratic Discussion. 

Change is a constant in a learner-driven environment. In Week 1, Heroes called upon their courage, adaptability, and inventiveness to face each change together. 

Year 5. Session 3. Week 3.

Session 3 landed powerfully in Discovery. Heroes celebrated with a final destination field trip, the annual book exchange, and a reflection on the Question of the Year!


Cartography Quest began with an overview of history’s greatest voyages. From Magellan to Lewis & Clark, learners connected with the experience of geographic exploration. Through the campus scavenger hunt, the tribe became familiar with longitude and latitude lines. This marked the start of a series of challenges designed to build the technical skills behind map-making. 

These skills were developed even further through the World Factbook. By collecting information to craft the factbook, learners examined country-specific cultural topics. This process gave Heroes the opportunity to expand their cartographic knowledge while utilizing hands-on creativity. 

Using maps from the geography works, the Studio integrated Montessori works into Quest for the first time this session. Learners worked to create detailed continental maps complete with individual countries, important locations, landmarks, and cities. 

At every step of the way in this Quest, Squads were unraveling a shared mystery. Completed work earned a Squad a clue to take them one step closer to solving the puzzle. On the final day of Cartography Quest, all of the clues came together to form a map to their final destination! 


The final day of Session 3 started and ended with tradition. In the morning, the Studio engaged in Socratic Discussion on Ascent’s QOTY: What Voice Does a Hero Listen to? To conclude the day, Discovery held its annual book exchange! Learners handmade their own wrapping paper and surprised their fellow traveler with a thoughtfully selected book. 

Discovery Year 5. Session 3. Week 2.

Just like that, the session is over halfway through! Discoverers continue their work in Cartography Quest, Civilization, Work Cycles, and Outdoor Play/P.D. 


In Week 2, the modern-day Magellan’s of Discovery Studio set forth to new continents. The voyage visited Africa, Europe, and Antarctica through the continued creation of a world fact book. In Squads, learners dive deeply into past and present facts from one country. Discoverers also sustained their efforts toward their map designs using Montessori materials. Narratives from around the world were sourced from Grimms’ Fairy Tales and Nelson Mandela’s Favorite African Folktales! 


The Studio sat down to hear the Epic of Gilgamesh in Civilization. Using this ancient story, Heroes engaged in Socratic Discussion on morality and nobility. Is it more noble to change on your own accord or to change based on the advice of others? 


This week in Work Cycles, learners were challenged to create a different and specific SMART goal each day!


Immersion in nature and collaborative creation continued during this week’s Outdoor Play. Discoverers focused on perfecting their long jump in P.D. 

At closing group this week, Discovery learners reflected on the three basic needs of a healthy Studio. In a moment of collective intention, the tribe found clarity on what they need from their environment, their systems, and one another.