IB Highlights: - Road Congestion in Spokane

October 25, 2021

Extended Essay Highlight:  Senior Jack Morris is doing an Economics EE on the topic of Market Failure of Highway Congestion.  His research question is: "Should we continue to build larger roadways or transition to alternate ideas such as increasing support for public transportation, monetizing areas, and disincentivizing driving to decrease road congestion in Spokane Washington?"  He is looking at different ways to decrease traffic congestion in heavily used areas in Spokane, by looking at models and experiences from other similar cities around the world.  His main focus is making public transportation more attractive and increasing ridership.  This is environmentally friendly, safer, and will decrease traffic for those around. 
CAS Experience Highlights:  CAS experiences for all of our Upper School Students this week included making posters for the food drive, teaching Taekwondo, carving pumpkins, teaching and helping with the 5th grade art class, attending a horse event, making gift bags, delivering Meals on Wheels, helping with the Little Spokane River Cleanup, sock climbing, track practices, soccer practice, helping at the LS cross country meet, and helping make cement. 
IB Question of the Week:  How does the Middle School Genius Hour project prepare students for the EE and CAS components of the IB CORE in their junior and senior years? 
In 5th grade, students begin their Genius Hour project and it continues throughout Middle School.  Each year, the students pick something they are interested in.  Teachers are training them to think about something that they care about and are willing to devote time to.  The goal of Genius Hour is not the end product but the experience.  
Within the full IB Diploma program, students must complete an Extended Essay (EE) and a CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service) project.  Both of these components are driven by what the students are interested in.  With the EE, students choose a topic, do research and produce a 4,000-word research paper.  With the CAS project, students pick something that interests them, research it, and find ways to develop experiences that include: 
   • real, purposeful activities, with significant outcomes; 
   • personal challenge; 
   • thoughtful consideration, such as planning, reviewing progress, reporting;
   • reflection on outcomes and personal learning.  
The learning from these two components of the IB CORE comes from the process.  The end result is icing on the cake, just like in Genius Hour.  
For detailed IB information, please refer to the International Baccalaureate page on the SGS website and to the IB Resources page in PowerSchool Learning.  As an overview, the Diploma Programme (DP) curriculum for grades 11-12 is made up of six subject groups and the DP core, comprising theory of knowledge (TOK), creativity, activity, service (CAS) and the extended essay (EE).  
• CAS Experiences: All of our Upper School students, pre-IB (grades 9-10), full diploma candidates and course candidates, complete CAS experiences with reflections.
• CAS Project: Our full diploma students complete CAS projects that follow an 18-month portfolio, full of reflections. 
• EE: Seniors spend a year researching and writing a 4000-word extended essay on a topic of their choice.