Need a break in the afternoon? Book our free interactive Virtual Field Trips

So… as we start our third month of lockdown, how’s this whole homeschooling experiment going for you?

We feel you.

Remember when love of learning was a thing? One thing the pandemic is teaching us is how much that love depends on our ability to use what we learn to connect with others. We are social animals and the purpose of so much learning is to enhance our sense of belonging.

Did you know that Sabine loves Mae Jemison, too? Esther and I are both learning cursive now – watch! Elliot has a great trick for doing 3-digit addition, let me show you!

It is in this light that BGL is offering a round of free, interactive virtual field trips called Field Trips LIVE. We want to provide collective, live learning experiences that connect students with people and places they don’t currently have access to (which, right now, is almost everyone and everything). Although we love our locations and topics, the goal here is to create the kind of synchronous learning opportunity that promotes connection and, therefore, love of learning.

Join us! They’re free (for now).

Click to book these FREE Field Trips LIVE:

1. Outdoor School: Coastal Habitats
    Thu May 21 @2pm PT / 5pm ET

2. Outdoor School: Freshwater Pond Habitats
    Thu May 28 @1pm PT / 4pm ET

3. Taiwan Night Market
    Thu June 4 @7am PT / 10am ET <– b/c time zones

4. Pacific Puppetry: The Bird that Wants to Fly
    Thu June 11 @3pm PT / 6pm ET

Interactive participation is conducted via text-based chat within Zoom. Messages are seen by presenters only and read aloud to the group when appropriate.

For a sample of what our FTLs looked like before the world shut down (with live, school-based video participants), check out this teaser for Mexico City vs. Los Angeles:

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Shelter-in-Place Superheroes: The Complete Series

One benefit of quarantine is witnessing the amazing bouts of creativity from our communities as they figure out new ways to connect and collaborate.

It is in this light that a talented group of educators and performers got together to create a variety show to fill the void of socialization left by school closures. It’s got a social and emotional learning backbone and, frankly, it’s pretty great!

Below is the full series. We hope you enjoy!

If you like what you see, here are:

 

Episode 1: Knowing Your Feelings

Superheroes always do the right thing. But how do we do the right thing? Well, first we need to know how we feel. If we’re in the green zone – happy and calm – how do we get back there? Let’s talk to some other Shelter-in-Place Superheroes and have them share their superpowers for getting back to the green zone!

 

Episode 2: Know the Feelings of Others

After superheroes know how they themselves feel they begin to exercise the superglue of superpowers: empathy! Superheroes notice things so that they can see through the eyes of others, hear through the ears of others and feel with the heart of others.

 

Episode 3: Making Good Choices

Superheroes know their own feelings and can use their superpowers to return to the “green zone.” It’s from the green zone that we make the best decisions! And they are even better decisions if we include our superglue superpower of empathy. That way we can make the very best choices: those that are good for us but also good for others.

 

Episode 4: Optimism

Superheroes always believe good things are around the corner. They are optimists! Sometimes when we face great challenges it’s hard to be an optimist. But we can apply the TIE strategy to all our challenges:

T – temporary

I – isolated

E – effort

The challenge will not last forever, it is temporary. The challenge is not the only thing! The challenge is isolated and there are many other things to experience and be grateful for. And, with effort we can overcome any challenge. When we apply this strategy to our challenges we can stay optimistic. And, if we stay optimistic then good things WILL happen!

For more educational content like this, give us your email! We’ll send you updates.

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Shelter-in-Place Superheroes Livestream: Episode 2 – Empathy is for Winners!

Thanks to everyone who participated in BGL’s Shelter-in-Place Superheroes Livestream on April 9! At the end of the livestream many families joined the video call to share their own super powers and their “superglue superpower” – empathy. It was awesome! To respect their privacy we left that part out of the video, but the rest of it is here! Enjoy, superheroes!

For more educational content like this, give us your email! We’ll send you updates.

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Field Trips Live: Apple Campus in Cupertino, California

Silicon Valley in the San Francisco Bay Area was a place of quiet fruit orchards until sometime in the 1970s when the semiconductor industry took off. At the time silicon was a major component of semiconductors which were used in machines like calculators, computers and most electronics, hence the new name for the area to the west of the SF Bay. 

BGL’s Learning Live seventh graders at Tsai Hsing School read our original iBook, Joyce Visits America, in which a girl from Taipei visits the San Francisco Bay area to learn more about where the technology which informs her life is created. Most of the students in 701 and 702 have been to an Apple store, and most use at least one Apple product. Before the FTL, students explored the Bay Area virtually and decided to focus their explorations on Apple since in addition to being one of the largest corporations in the world it is such a part of global daily life. Students learned about the history of Apple from its early days in a garage in Los Altos to its Cupertino headquarters.

Former CEO Steve Jobs was obsessed with Apple products exhibiting good design, and Apple’s Cupertino headquarters reflects what happens when design is considered in its entirety. Jobs believed that even the best software needed its hardware to be elegant and environmentally and people friendly. During the FTL, students learned about the many ways Apple tries to be environmentally friendly and/or sustainable. They learned that Jobs insisted that only 20% of the land at the new headquarters be built. This left 80% for greenspace. There are over 9,000 fruit trees – cherry, apple, apricot and plum. This last is of historical value, too. The land on which the campus was built was once a plum farm where the Glendenning family dried the fruit until it became prunes; these were shipped all over the world. Today, the drying barn is a feature of the campus. Clearly, the campus requires a lot of water. All of the water used to take care of the grounds is reclaimed wastewater. The balance of the landscaping consists of drought-resistant and indigenous plants.

This pursuit of perfection in design extended to the invention (by others) of a new type of glass for the front windows of Apple stores and another new kind of glass for its donut-shaped headquarters in Cupertino in which all the windows are curved. Why is the building circular anyway? Our students researched and conjectured: perhaps because circles have no end. Or, because there’s no “best” most important place around a circle? Or it may have had to do with Steve Jobs’ engagement with Buddhism and the enso, or circle, drawn with one stroke. The enso symbolizes creation, strength, elegance and one-mindedness, all things which factored into Jobs’ design thinking.

2560px-Aerial_view_of_Apple_Park_dllu.jpg

By Daniel L. Lu (user:dllu) – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=69553418

 

Looks a bit like a mothership from a science fiction movie from the future, doesn’t it? In fact, it is the largest office building in the world at 2.8 million square feet and sits on 175 acres. Four stories are above ground and three are underground. Yet all of its power comes from renewable energy. Even though 12,000 people work there with parking for 14,200 cars, more than eighty percent of the land is green space. You get a sense of how large the campus is in a short video set to the Mission Impossible theme.

During the Field Trip Live in the visitor center, the classes saw a scale model of the entire Apple campus. When Teacher Courtney hovered her hand over a part of it, that part was revealed in more detail through Augmented Reality (AR). Students were in awe of this relatively new technology that will soon become mainstream and were eager to learn more. 

After the FTL, students had a few questions about the experience. Chief among them was wanting to know what happens to all the old Apple products when people replace them. Google searched led them to learn  that Apple not only reclaims water on its campus, but reclaims and repurposes parts of the iPhone and other hardware it makes.

To apply what they learned, students reflected on the most interesting aspects of the FTL and came to the conclusion that the AR experience was of greatest interest. After their visual and virtual experience, students experimented with AR on their own iPads using the iMeasure app. This app enables the user to measure objects and spaces using AR. For many, this was the first of many times they will use their iPad to learn from augmented reality.