Kicking Off Summer Academy - Wheaton Academy
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Kicking Off
Summer Academy

This week we kicked off Summer Academy with record-breaking enrollment. Over three weeks of class, students will experience synchronous learning through live online instruction. Our teachers are working hard to create dynamic experiences and to make one-one one connections with new and returning students.

Science Spotlight: Biology

Extracting Strawberry DNA

In Biology, Ms. Johnson’s students are learning about biochemistry and cell biology. In one project, students used their knowledge of polarity, macromolecules, and cell organelles to extract DNA from strawberries using materials around their house. Students worked in small groups on Zoom as they each extracted DNA. When they finished, they ended up with a small, but visible, clump of DNA. 

biology class summer academy

Students Perform Frog Dissections

frog dissection

Later in the week, students picked up their frog dissection kits. Some students chose to meet in small groups to perform the dissection together outside.

Penny ’22 shared, “When I was dissecting the frog, I found it super eye opening to see how God created every creature uniquely. It was amazing to physically see all of the parts He put together to make the frog function!”

Mr. Regan, our Science Department Head, agreed, “There’s nothing quite like interacting with the real thing in science. Students see that nothing in the natural world is ordinary, and that they are able to do more than they think they are capable of. Dissecting the frog together, even at a distance, was such a great reminder of the power of learning in community.

Welcoming Incoming Freshmen to Wheaton Academy

One of our popular summer classes is “Intro to Historical Inquiry,” a class designed for rising freshman. Sections are taught by three of our social studies teachers, Ms. Rinker, Mr. Jasper, and Mr. Leman. These teachers have collaborated to create a unique learning experience for freshman students while welcoming them to Wheaton Academy!

Mrs. Rinker shares, “Being able to be one of the first faces that incoming Freshmen see is both an honor and also something that is so fun. I have the ability to give them a glimpse into the importance of community at Wheaton Academy.“

Historical Inquiry is a foundational class for freshmen.  Mr. Jasper shares why, “Historical inquiry is crucial because it is the foundation from which all other social studies classes at Wheaton Academy are based. Students learn how to read and analyze a diverse range of sources. They also learn how to write thoughtful argumentative responses on a variety of topics. They receive specific feedback on their writing, which will help them not only with future social studies and English classes at Wheaton Academy, but also in whatever occupation they eventually choose.”

In reflecting on this new synchronous learning environment, Mr. Leman shares, “Teaching a foundational class that has universally applicable skills is as exciting as it is challenging. Using scheduled digital check-ins to teach, monitor, and give feedback to students has made the process nearly seamless compared to in-person teaching. It’s a new hybrid learning experience that no-one saw coming, but we have adapted and made intentional and lasting adjustments.”

Of course, we love getting feedback from our new students about their experience of this hybrid environment. Incoming Freshman Finn shares, “Even online, my teachers are able to help me and my classmates enjoy the subjects—and I feel like I am getting to know the whole class.

Are you curious about our virtual classrooms? We invite you to step into a section of Historical Inquiry as students learn to differentiate between primary and secondary sources. In the activity below, students first split into small groups to identify source types based on a set of scenario cards. Then, they reconvened as a large group to discuss their findings with Ms. Rinker.

We are celebrating all that students and teachers have accomplished during this first week of Summer Academy and we look forward to another two weeks of synchronous learning!