On the 18th and the 19th of April, geometry students embarked on a journey to Yuldong Park: the EcoGeo challenge! The EcoGeo challenge is an annual trip that geometry teachers arrange to let students solve more challenging real-world problems. All geometry students are divided into several groups to solve trigonometry application questions. Given a limited amount of time for each question and a few tools, students are required to make full use of their knowledge in order to solve the real-world problems.
Many say that the trip allowed them to gain necessary skills and knowledge. 83% of the students Blueprint interviewed claimed that the trip was worth going to because it was a unique experience that high schoolers don’t often get. Crescentia Jung, a student who participated in the trip, maintained that she liked the EcoGeo challenge since it gave them “some freedom in terms of not having to just listen to the teacher” and allowed them to “ do an activity outside”. As high schoolers, it is often difficult to incorporate both education and outdoor activities because of time and availability. We see typical KIS students sitting down on chairs and working on desks incessantly whilst gaining knowledge just by hearing and solving. The EcoGeo trip, however, enabled them to learn multiple skills in an environment that involves not just listening, but also discovering through hand-on activities.
Students were also able to gain further knowledge about trigonometry. Leanne Kim claimed that she liked learning “different methods to find angles and lengths” and practicing teamwork skills. The challenges tested on the student’s ability to use specific tools to find measurements using different methods. They were to employ various methods such as lying down on the grass and tapping points on the ground. Using these methods required teamwork skills which is an important skill that math classes don’t often use since math is often an independently working subject.
Although students were able to gain some valuable skills and knowledge, there were some critical issues with the trip as well. After asking several students what they did not enjoy about the trip and what could be improved, we found three main issues. First, many students felt that the point system was a problem, because its basis was extensively on accuracy. Jessica Kwon stated that she didn’t like “how you had to be accurate on everything to get full points” because it was difficult for them to figure out the exact, precise answer for each question in a limited amount of time. Also, the students felt that there was a lack of time for each question and the write-up as well. Kelley Shim informed us that if she was given more time to solve the questions and less time to eat lunch, then her group could have had finished all of the questions completely. She added that 30 minutes was not enough for her group to complete the write-up, which would have been easily completed if they were given time to finish it in class.
Several students pointed out that having unlimited chances to correct their answers inhibited their learning process. Emma Kang thought that she “didn’t gain anything from the questions that she got wrong since she didn’t care about finding the correct answers in the end.” As students became more and more tired throughout the day, they would stop trying to figure out the correct answer and give up after their first try. Implementing a stricter rule such as giving the students a limited number of chances may be beneficial.
“The Geometry field trip was successful! Students were able to apply their knowledge, work as a team, and think critically to solve each challenge. Students worked hard to solve and even those who didn’t solve the challenge gave a great effort. The day went as planned and we were able to enjoy the good weather while we solved!” – Ms.Quade, geometry teacher
This trip for many students was an opportunity for not only extended learning, but definitely some fun in the outdoors. As the first trip this year for the freshmen to experience the outdoors, many students enjoyed getting out of the classrooms and actively engaging with their teammates to solve the challenges. There were some issues that could have been fixed to improve the experience, but overall, the students enjoyed their time outside in another place rather than in the classroom. Perhaps more of such kinds of field trips would add some fun to a somewhat dull third quarter!
—Sarah Se Jung Oh (’19) and Ariel Hyunseo Kim (’19)