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Roberto Clemente Middle Schoolers “Journey Through Africa”

Seventh graders who are part of Roberto Clemente Middle School’s International Baccalaureate Middle School Years Programme participated in an in-house field trip that took them on a “Journey Through Africa” on Thursday, Dec. 17.

“As an IB candidate school, RCMS is provided our students with opportunities to understand the world around them, not just Germantown,” said RCMS Principal Jeff Brown. “The Journey through Africa in-house field trip was an amazing, authentic learning opportunity for our grade, seven students. Students were immersed in food, arts and culture, history, and activities that celebrated the life and culture of Africa.”

Throughout the first semester, seventh-grade students have studied the relationship between and among individuals, communities and the environment, said Molly B. Murray, the International Baccalaureate Coordinator at RCMS. While inquiring into these relationships, students focused on the continent of Africa; a topic in the seventh-grade curriculum.

In Science, students inquired into the nutritional value of traditional African foods and how healthy food choices are important for one's physical health and community strength, said Murray. In World Studies, students understood how beliefs and values within an African culture help to shape the identity of its people, as well as its political and economic systems. In Art, students studied personal and cultural expression when they created authentic African masks. In English, students analyzed identities and relationships while learning about traditional African folktales.

The students celebrated their learning by engaging in an all-day, in-house field trip called "Journey Through Africa." During this day, students enjoyed a drumming and dancing performance, interacted with several guest speakers (many of whom were Peace Corps volunteers who served in Africa), played traditional African games and enjoyed a catered lunch of traditional African foods. This second annual seventh-grade event has become a community celebration during which parents, community members, students and staff come together for a joint celebration of learning.

As an IB candidate school, RCMS staff plan opportunities for all students to become more internationally minded by exploring multiple cultures and perspectives. In addition, students learn through a conceptual framework that allows a transfer of knowledge across disciplines. While learning and reflecting, students build their "Learner Profile"; a set of 10 characteristics of a successful learner. Examples include becoming "risk-takers" and inquiring into what it means to be "open-minded."

As the school continues the IB Middle Years Programme implementation, the community can look forward to the sixth-grade celebration in March 2016 called "Passport Through China" and the eighth-grade celebration in May 2016 called "Maryland: Then and Now."

Principal Brown, noted how "sharing experiences and view points outside of our students' own paradigm of thinking about the world creates more globally minded thinkers. It is experiences such as this that will lead Roberto Clemente Middle School to their vision of creating "global change through inquiry and action.”

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