LivingLAB

The LivingLAB is a program that engages the community in developing our 7.5 acre campus into an expression of the school’s curriculum.

Through projects that facilitate intentional relationships with each of the four elements (earth, air, fire and water), the campus “laboratory” becomes a living extension of the school’s values mirrored back to the community from the land itself – as well as the infrastructure upon it.

The fluency that emerges from the synthesis of nature connection and academic curriculum gives rise to reverence through critical thinking, wonder, creative solutions, and an expanded realm of possibility.

Each LivingLAB learning initiative lends itself to an encounter for varied academic subjects and diverse learning styles. By engaging the thinking, feeling and willing in relation to the school campus, the students’ participation is purposeful and manifests directly.

Meeting our Bees | May 3, 2016

Discovering the Compost Dragon | Harvest Fest 2015

Wood-fired Oven Installation | Spring 2016

Pollinator Hotel Installation | Spring 2016

Moving our bees to the Observation Beehive with expert Brian Lacy | May 3, 2016

Courtyard Design Rendering by Isaac Weiss | Fall 2015

Making Seed Bombs | Harvest Fest 2015

Wood-fired Oven Installation with guest experts from “Firespeaking” in Eugene | Spring 2016

Rainbow Flower & Dye Garden | Installed during Martin Luther King Jr. Service Day 2016

Installing Observation Beehive in the Library with expert Brian Lacy | May 3, 2016

Wood-fired Oven Installation | Spring 2016

Seed Sharing | Harvest Fest 2015

Current LivingLAB Installations:

  • Indoor Observation Beehive
  • “Pollinator Hotel” structure for beneficial insect habitat
  • Hearth Space with Wood-Fired Oven
  • “River of Life” Food Forest in memory of Dasan Marshall ’09
  • Flower & Dye Garden Cultivation and Tending
  • Upgraded Bike Parking Area

Curriculum Integration

LivingLAB supports teachers and students to engage with the installations on campus in ways that enhance their learning in main lesson blocks as well as in specialty subject classes.

The following is a description of how the indoor beehive reinforces Jamina Shupack’s algebra lessons in delightfully intriguing ways…

The algebra classes are creating a map or a graph that represents the foraging patterns of our bees during this time of year. Bees are able to communicate with each other about food sources (nectar and pollen) by waggling in a certain direction in the hive for a certain amount of time. By looking at previous studies around this topic, the students have been able to calculate a ratio between the distance to a food source and the time a bee will spend waggling. By recording the time and direction of numerous waggle dances, the students have been able to discover where the bees are foraging. While recording the waggle dances, they have also been able to watch the queen lay eggs, bees covering pupae (baby bees) with fresh wax, a baby bee emerge from a cell to join the hive, and much more. The math utilized in this project includes ratios and proportions, percents, conversions, slope of a line, and line of best fit.

For more information, please contact LivingLAB Director Kelly Hogan at kelly.hogan@portlandwaldorf.org.

Follow The LivingLAB online…

Order Your Biodynamic Seeds Today!

LivingLAB is raising funds for building a hearth work space by selling biodynamic seeds from Turtle Tree Seeds, an initiative that makes its home in the Camphill Village in Copake, NY. Please consider placing your order through us either before Feb 1 (for...

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Year’s End

So much has happened this year with the LivingLAB! Read on for a review of the exciting activities that students from kindergarten through high school were engaged in this fall. Early Childhood has been baking bread in the oven weekly, gathering kindling for the...

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Walnut Hill Re-Visioning, High School Project Week

One of the high school LivingLAB elective groups chose to work in the garden at Walnut Hill in order to increase the accessibility of the space for young gardeners. The students went through the whole process, including research, site assessment, design, land...

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