Grade 9 Design Block
Something exciting is happening at Hamilton District Christian High this semester: it’s called MegaBloc. Imagine one hundred grade nine students starting each day together in the same room, praying together, learning together, and working together.
MegaBloc is an integrated technology course, which includes information and communication technology, design, and basic woodworking. But it’s so much more than just that; MegaBloc is an opportunity to establish community across an entire grade, to provide students with consistent introduction to high school and project-based learning, and to begin the work of cultivating character with a quarter of the school’s population.
“The new tech program is AWESOME and there are so many things to do. There is everything from woodshop to 3D printers.”
Each morning begins with devotions and prayer in the cafeteria as a large group. Following that, five teachers facilitate learning in smaller sections on a rotating schedule to help the students develop a wide range of skills and techniques.
“MegaBloc is one of the best classes I’ve ever had! Every day you get to have devotions, be creative, and simply have fun! You can tell they really care about each student succeeding and having a good time.”
On our school’s journey with project-based learning, it has become clear that new students must be provided opportunities to acquire certain skills in order to be successful. For example, they need opportunities to use many traditional and modern tools, to learn the language and process of projects, and to be provided with uncertain situations where there is more than one way to arrive at a “right” answer. Once all of the students are equipped with these skills in MegaBloc, they will put the skills to use working collaboratively in small groups to solve a design and construction challenge.
“It’s a great class. It’s really helpful for those who aren’t as skill with computers, plus, It’s full of projects, like building a virtual house and even a trebuchet!“
MegaBloc provides an initiation into creative thinking, skill development, and collaborative work. It is a chance for teachers to start cultivating the character of students, uncovering the joy of discovery and learning, and providing opportunities for students to serve God. Beginnings are important. MegaBloc is a great beginning for our new students–and according to the our students, it’s fun, too!
“It is really interesting how we get to learn a bunch of new, unique skills throughout this class instead of focusing on one topic. This class is never boring because we are constantly moving on to different things that many of us have never learned before.“
The buzz right now is all about the trebuchet project. In groups of four or five, students are designing, modeling, and creating trebuchets for a class-wide competition to see who can launch three-pound pumpkins the furthest.
Reflection on MegaBloc
“I think this semester tech has been my favourite subject. It was filled with a variety of fun projects and was also a very hands-on type of unit. Doing work in this subject has helped me immensely in a great deal of ways. It has taught me many skills and great learning experience.
Many of the assignments during MegaBloc I think will help me with future projects and work I have to do. It has shown me a variety of different ways you can portray work and has taught me to put my best effort into the work I do create.
I think my favourite rotation in this class has to be the Capstone Project and the Trebuchet Project. Those were the two that made me realize the most, that when you put your effort and well spent time into something, you can create something beautiful. That’s something you hear teachers tell you all the time. Well, we had teachers tell us that almost every morning. These were the two projects where I realized that they were absolutely right. When you make something online or a writing piece, you might not think much of it. This is why I enjoy building projects because I can see the work I’ve created. But that should be with everything we do.
Whether it be building, writing, designing, drawing, music, we all have the ability and talent to create beautiful work and MegaBloc has helped me to see that.” Jodie V