A World-Class Studio

Heroes Academy
7 min readFeb 26, 2022

(Year 5, Week 20)

To start off the week the heroes placed themselves in the shoes of a real-life person facing a real-life dilemma…

The year is 1912, you are the captain of a British passenger ship traveling from England to New York.

It is the evening of April 15th.

The sea is calm and the winds are mild. The cold waters are guiding your ship to America.

As midnight draws near you drift off to sleep.

Suddenly you are awoken by a crash. The right side of your ship has collided with something in the water. You suddenly realize that you have hit an iceberg, the ship is irreparably damaged and will surely sink.

The initial shock wears off as you start to witness the chaos around you.

You order the lifeboats to be lowered…

The heroes became the captain of a sinking passenger ship, would they choose to decide who enters the lifeboats first or leave it up to fate?

If so how would they decide?

Would they allow only children to board the lifeboats first?

What about the members of the crew? Would they make sure they had saved space for themselves on one of the lifeboats?

Some heroes felt that the children should board the boats first while others felt that the elderly should be allowed to have spots since they may not be strong swimmers. Other heroes felt that since the first-class passengers spent the most money they should have a spot reserved on the lifeboat.

This discussion allowed for students to place themselves in the position of Captain Edward Smith the captain of the titanic.

Some historians have said that Smith panicked and isolated himself in his room while the chaos unfolded around him. Others credit him with escorting children onto the lifeboats while making no attempt to save himself. The heroes were encouraged to think about how they could act as a hero if they were in his shoes.

The heroes wrestled with these questions as their next challenge was introduced…

Olympic Challenge

This week's challenge was to craft a tin foil boat that could support as many pennies as possible in the upcoming Physics Olympics. They learned about the concept of buoyancy and displacement and used this newfound knowledge to begin creating their boats.

Boats had to be no larger than 6 inches in either direction and had to be made out of tin foil exclusively. After some brainstorming heroes began on their boats, some decided to fold their boats as others decided to crumple and shape the foil with their hands.

Finally, their first attempt was complete.

Heroes gathered around in anticipation as their boats entered the water.

Some boats proved to be heavy, others too light. Other boats quickly proved to be too large for the size requirement. Heroes often had to go back to the drawing board to find a solution for their boat tipping or sinking shortly after entering the water.

Team members were eager and willing to support one another with creative solutions. Some heroes decided to compact their folded tin foil using pliers, others decided to make theirs significantly taller in order to make room for more pennies. They would put their boats to the test later in the week.

Making the Studio World-Class

On Wednesday Lauryn successfully delivered a Socratic discussion that allowed heroes to brainstorm ideas on how to keep the studio first class.

Imagine this you walk into the studio this morning and you glance over at the quest table and you see a huge mess. Now imagine this, you walk into the studio tomorrow and you see the quest supplies completely organized and all the quest materials are there.

What are the main problems that we are facing with the organization and the supply count for the quest table?

Some heroes noted that supplies were often misplaced or mistakenly thrown away.

What are the main problems that we are facing with the quest supplies and the system of checking out the supplies?

Heroes noted that it was often difficult to remember who had checked out certain supplies.

The heroes were able to brainstorm solutions and voted on how best to keep the studio clean. This discussion will allow the heroes to hold each other accountable and take responsibility for their space.

Personal Maintenance Responsibility Game

The heroes also experimented with a new Personal Maintenance responsibility game this week made by Council.

The game is designed to offer freedom only after demonstrating responsibility for personal and studio maintenance, ultimately being able to gain the freedom to partake in snacks wherever they like. It’s an opportunity to learn the heroic habits of being responsible for yourself and your space.

There are three levels that determine where heroes are allowed to have their snacks. Level one allows heroes to have snacks at their desks, level two allows for snacks in the big room, and level three permits heroes to have snacks wherever they like. If their area is clean after they finish eating they are checked off by a peer and can progress through the levels. If they fail to maintain a clean space they will fall into the level below.

Serving Sticks

Another addition to the studio this was that of “Serving Sticks.” Each stick represents a way in which a hero could serve/support the studio. Examples include cleaning the fridge or organizing books in the library. Heroes can choose between losing a hero buck or completing a serving stick to keep their hero buck. This addition offers more immediate feedback and a more warm-hearted approach to studio accountability. The heroes seem to be enjoying this new system and the contract seems to have become even more rooted in the studio.

Hero Launch

Thursday morning Ibby successfully delivered a launch focused on accountability in the studio. The launch encouraged heroes to think about how they might be able to hold each other accountable even within friendships.

Imagine this you walk into the studio and you see that almost everyone is running around. You have the choice to hold them accountable or to just forget about it. In this discussion, we will be focusing on holding more people accountable.

Would you hold someone accountable even if they were your friend? To you, is it more important to have good friends or hold people accountable, and why?

Some heroes said that they believed it was more important to have strong friendships while others believed that in order to have a world-class studio accountability was a necessity.

Ibby encouraged her peers to hold one another accountable as they strived to make the studio world-class.

Writers Workshop

Heroes practiced writing formal letters in preparation to mail a letter to their personal hero. The heroes persevered through frustrations and distractions as they learn how to craft meaningful questions and discover what they wanted to share most with their personal heroes.

The heroes also watched an interview with Malcolm Gladwell in which he introduced the idea that it takes 10,000 hours to master something.

The heroes discussed challenges and the importance of practice…

Which trait is most important when approaching the deliberate practice of a new skill: curiosity, grit, or introspection (also known as self-awareness)?

Some heroes said it was Grit and perseverance while others said the most important trait was self-awareness and passion.

What is the most challenging element of deliberate practice: getting started each time, or failing often?

Heroes noted that when you’re failing you are often learning something and get closer to your goal. Other heroes felt that getting started was the hardest part.

While the heroes will not have 10,000 hours to practice the skill of letter writing for some of them this may start them on their journey of loving literature and writing.

Tin Foil Boats

On Friday the time had finally come for the heroes to test the boats against their peers.

One by one the heroes placed their creations into the water and began placing pennies into their boats.

The boats were able to hold over 100 pennies!

Wrap Up

This week the heroes pondered how to improve upon the studio, how to make it more efficient, cleaner, and more safe. They worked as a collective to honor the studio and treat it with respect. In the midst of the mess and inefficiencies, it is clear the most valuable part of the studio is the people inside of it, creative and full of life, on a journey to change the world.

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Heroes Academy

Elementary blog for Heroes Academy, an innovative school in Boise, Idaho. We inspire children to find a calling and change the world → http://heroesacademy.org