Academy Students Take Part in Creative Explorations

This school year, Punahou piloted a new program for Academy students called Explorations. The courses offered students the opportunity to explore topics and projects spanning a range of disciplines, taught in a non-traditional way without grades. Students dove into such topics as artificial intelligence, lauhala weaving, theatre and the Punahou Archives for the six-week inventive courses. At the culmination of the courses, students shared what they learned during a Share Fair with their fellow students.

In the “Sharks!” course, students’ creativity came to life while developing an interactive app to teach others the importance of sharks and the harm of overfishing. Using 3D design and modeling, students incorporated knowledge about sharks’ vital role in ocean ecosystems to create an educational experience for users. “Watching students come up with creative ways of demonstrating concepts and connecting with users, often seeing solutions that I myself may not have come up with, was very fulfilling,” said Sam Durham, a Punahou Design Technology and Engineering faculty member who taught the course.

Bookworms had a chance to connect in the “Joy of Reading” course. Students selected readings from a diverse range of genres such as poetry, short stories, novels, graphic novels and nonfiction, and shared and discussed excerpts with the rest of the class. “They select very interesting and thought-provoking readings and have helped me as a librarian by recommending books for the library and raising my awareness of what teenagers like to read,” said information specialist Susan Clark, a librarian with the Cooke Library Learning Commons who facilitated the course.

Explorations will continue into the summer with courses that encompass the theme of College and Career Explorations. Such topics include “Personal Development through Positive Psychology” and “Worthy of a Free Man: A Liberal Arts Education.”

A screenshot from an educational shark app developed by students in the “Sharks!” Explorations course.

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