One of the things that really makes Capstone College unique are the immersive units we run here in our year 9 and 10 program. The curriculum is a whole package deal, where everything we teach and learn together is related to a set of learning activities with specific real-life goals. Yes, we teach English and maths, but these support and are part of a bigger program. Let’s see how this works.
The immersive units go for five weeks, include core English and Maths in the mornings and afternoons dedicated to a group project. In Poatina, the whole town becomes our classroom as we go on an educational adventure together.
Here are some examples:
All the Worlds a Stage
This unit is focused upon theatre, the stage and expressive performance. To help us do this, we invited the talented pair Steve and Hannah Cooper. The Coopers are professional performers, Steve is a musician and Hannah a dancer. They ran workshops in the creation of characters and developing a real performance, including acting, music, dancing as well as all the practical elements of scripts and stage management.
The core English and Maths directly supported this work, as we studied Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and learned practical skills to understand the history and workings of stage performance. We even got to see a live streamed performance of Romeo and Juliet from the Bell Shakespeare Company! The unit got everyone involved. Different students took on different tasks – dancers, actors, stage crew, script writers, musicians and singers. With Steve and Hannah’s help, we pulled together a great performance! We were able to do this performance on an actual stage, in the Poatina community hall, with all the lighting and sound gear available for a professional show.
Race to the Future
A very exciting unit, focused upon the development of future technologies that change our lives. The main activity is building an electric powered recumbent bike, working with the help of another guest expert, Alan Strange. We face new technologies and a rapidly changing world that many of our students will personally experience. They need to be prepared for the changes that are coming.
Moving from a carbon economy of petrol and coal, to renewable power, electric self-driving cars, automation, artificial intelligence and genetic engineering. It all sounds like science fiction becoming science fact! That’s why in English we studied the genre of science fiction and used story writing and debate about ideas to look at possible futures we might all see in our lifetimes. Working together to build the recumbent bike, used maths and engineering skills. We also made small electric powered model cars and tested them for speed and power. This unit was really fun, especially racing the bike around Poatina!
We also do a bit of hot glass and silver smithing!!!!
Poatina has a thriving arts community and a facility including equipment for working with slumped glass, glass blowing and silversmithing. Glass artist Keith Dougall and our own principal Russell have the skills to teach these art forms. It is exciting working with hot glass and making jewellery out of silver as well as developing creative and practical skills. Few other colleges can offer this kind of opportunity.
The Environment in a Climate of Change
In a time of climate change and global warming, we recognise that our ecology is under threat. This unit focuses on issues of science and geography, exploring sustainability and how ecological systems respond to change.
Being here in Poatina means we can go and look at the unique flora and fauna of Tasmania up close. The area is a habitat for a diverse collection of animal species including quolls, devils, echidna, potoroos, wombat, kangaroos and wallabies. We even have a herd of deer living in the area!
Our students will be able to work on individual experiments and science research and so develop new skills. We now have scientific equipment to test water qualities, electric microscopes for examining organisms collected from ponds and streams and a science lab where we can work. Getting out and about in the local natural environment will be a big part of the activities we do, as well as learning how to collect scientific data and generate reports to respond to what we discover. This is a chance to do the real work of finding out about the health of our planet and its environments and look for a better future.
These units are examples and just the tip of the iceberg! Over two years, year nine and ten students will go through a cycle of different immersive units which will give them experiences in a wide variety of activity and learning.
Not only do we have skilled staff, we also have many guest experts contributing specific skills and experiences in each area we explore. The village of Poatina itself is our place of study and we have the full support of the community – including a breakfast club each morning where wonderful people cook a hot breakfast for us all to share in a space where we can build a sense of community and a positive shared culture.