Year 8s Thrive on Explore8

It’s been exciting times for the Year 8s over the past two weeks. Their involvement in Explore8 means they have been off the traditional timetable for ten days and working on their own design-thinking, extended project.

The average day of a Year 8 student has been filled with amazing, innovative guest speakers, skills sessions, one-on-one sessions with an adult mentor, fun ‘mind gym’ activities and individual project work.

What is Explore8?

Explore8 is the Year 8 unit of the Enhanced Learning Program at Santa Maria College. The aim of this deep-learning task is to extend the learning of all students in Year 8. It is also designed to encourage the exploration of new ideas in a structured and supported process of design thinking.

From the students, Explore8 requires sustained critical thought and planning, research, partnership with teachers and parents, decision making, creation of a task product, reflection and the ability to present an innovative solution to a known problem. The College considers these skills to be a solid foundation for further study and life generally.

The girls will present their projects to their parents in a gallery style exhibition on Wednesday, before the Years 5 – 8 Awards Night. They will show their parents around the gallery and answer questions about their own innovation projects.

What do the girls say about their Explore8 experience?

Explore8 has been a great experience for me. I’ve learnt how to grow from challenges and struggles, and how to make good use of my time. My mentor has been a great help, and the guest speakers every day have taught me techniques to help me with my project.

I changed my problem and my solution after the first couple of days, and I thought I had wasted the beginning of Explore 8, but after thinking it through, I realised I could learn from the detour.

It has been good to have reflections every afternoon so I can set goals for the next day. Without setting goals I think I would have got lost and gone off track. The support and help from my friends has been so helpful. Having another opinion on something can make all the difference. I have really enjoyed the experience and I know that what I’ve learnt will be helpful in the future. Kate Creasy Year 8 Kelly

In Explore8 I explored the problem of postnatal depression since I know someone who has it. It is depression that occurs after childbirth. At the beginning, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to find enough information on it. Then the next day, with help from my mentor, I got so much information that quite a lot of it couldn’t even fit on my display board!

The experience of doing Explore8 has really helped me realsie if I research and understand a problem, I can come up with a creative solution. I know that I will take these skills and knowledge into the rest of my life. Bella Bryan O’Donnell

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