(Year 4, Week 14)

The Monday morning launch opened up with the story of Wilma Rudolph. Rudolph was a black woman born premature in 1940. She struggled severely from the moment she was born. Overcoming Scarlet Fever, Whooping Cough and two rounds of Pneumonia. The heroes listened to her story read from the book of, Heroes for my Daughter. Out of all the struggles that Rudolph faced, one of her biggest was contracting Polio. The virus left her with a crooked leg and curved foot. She was forced to wear braces and the doctors told her mother that it would be a miracle if she ever learned to walk.

Rudolph had other plans. By the age of 16 she was a champion runner and took third in the Olympics. She went on to win three gold medals and was the first woman to win three gold medals in a single Olympic Games. She was without a doubt and inspiration and someone who lived and persevered through multiple challenges.

After hearing about her story, the heroes were asked the following question:

“What do you believe was her biggest struggle?

1. Becoming a runner after battling Polio

2. Being a black woman in the South during segregated times.

3. Something else.”

The guide shared a quote from Rudolph that resonated with the heroes,

“My doctors told me I would never walk again. My mother said I would. I believed my mother.”

One of the heroes, who usually stays more silent in discussions, raised their hand and added,

“I like that quote, because when I don’t believe in myself. I know my mom still believes in me.”


The heroes were excited to learn what their Quest was for the session. they were introduced to Cartography and all things adventure. They kicked off their discussion with the following video that gave them a small insight into who Magellan was and what he did:

They were then asked the following question:

Was Magellan brave or foolish?

Most of the heroes believed that Magellan was brave. They believed that a grand adventure around the globe was something that not many people could do. They were then asked the next question:

Do you consider yourself adventurous?

Many of the heroes believed that they were adventurous, but some thought of themselves as more timid. But what does adventurous even mean? Is someone who travels around the globe more adventurous than someone who can backpack alone? Does adventurous mean going far, far away? Or is it simply someone who isn’t afraid to jump into the unknown? This brought on a great discussion for the heroes. They started to ask questions about the definition of adventure and challenged each other on their thoughts.

They were then welcomed into Quest! For the next four weeks, the heroes will be building out maps, learning about continents and creating their own real life map using a compass, coordinates and landmarks. The will be their very own leaders on an expedition into the unknown. All while learning about some of the greatest expeditions known to man.

Lead a Discussion

Part of the heroes badge plan is to lead a launch. The older heroes in the Discovery studio are constantly pitching their launch ideas to the guide. Many of the heroes have hit their goal by leading three launches total, but for the most part, they want to keep launching. They work diligently to come up with profound topics to interest their fellow heroes and they have a blast using their creativity.

One of the heroes gave a launch during the week with the ever hot topic of:

What’s better? Dogs or cats?

The discussion was heated. The heroes moved onto opposite sides of the rug and began their argument battles. The heroes came in with research and studies to back up their claims:

“Dogs are friendlier.”

“Cats need less attention. Perfect for busy people.”

“Dogs become your best friend!”

“Cat’s are smarter.”

The discussion leader came packed with research, strong questions and follow up questions that really forced their fellow heroes to think. These moments show so much growth for the heroes on their journey. They get to see someone lead a strong discussion, hold a firm line and show the research and work that went into making it. It also helps the heroes see the goals on the horizon. The goal of standing up, delivering a strong launch and having the confidence to do it in front of their peers. Building confidence and strong arguments is an important step on the hero’s journey.

Letter to a Hero

Writer’s Workshop is a favorite among most of the heroes. So far this school year, the heroes have worked on creative writing and building out their own stories. Creative writing has proved to be one of the best ways to enhance imagination, it leads to deeper reading selections and really improves voice. The heroes have loved creating their own worlds, but this Writer’s Workshop hit much differently.

The heroes were introduced to writing a letter to their hero. This is always one of the favorites in the studio. They got to dive deep into a discussion about what it means to be a hero and who is someone that they believe is the most well rounded individual that they could admire.

The heroes were challenged to think beyond the basic, “hello,” letters. They were challenged to think deeply about what they would want to read if they were someones hero. They got to work during the week to do research and a brainstorming activity to bring out some of the hardest questions that they could think of. They also got started on trying to figure out just where they could send their letters. Many of the heroes dove deep into what the interests are of their heroes, helping them develop fan art, songs and even stories that they think their hero would love to look at. Most of the heroes are most hoping for a response from the person that they look up to.

Pick a Country

Friday had to have been one of the best days the heroes have had. They got to find out the second part of their Quest, which is, to do a deep dive into a country of their choice. They started off listening to a video about amazing facts in countries around the world. They learned some countries have brail on their money to help the blind. That in other countries, people shake their head up and down for no and left to right for yes. They giggled at the fact that in Greece, people spit on one another for good luck and they were in awe of the Hygge culture in Denmark.

The heroes were wide-eyed when they were told they were going to be diving into a country of their choice and doing everything in their power to study their culture. They have the freedom to study their language, try their hand at making a dish and even studying the authentic history of the country.

Much of their Quest is centered around building and understanding maps, but a very important part is the deep dive into the different countries. They have unlimited freedom to study and grasp the differences and similarities between the United States and their country. Many of the heroes skipped heroes choice just so they could keep researching and learning new facts about their countries. Many of the heroes wanted to study countries their ancestors were from and that brought up a great conversation between some of the heroes about the hardships their ancestors may have faced to get to the United States. This Quest is going to be one filled with maps, culture and the opening of historical facts.


The heroes kicked off the week with learning about a real-life hero. Someone full of courage. They had a very deep morning discussion about what it means to defy all odds. That discussion really challenged the heroes to dig deep into the excuses that hold them back from achieving their goals. They were beyond excited to launch into Quest and Writer’s Workshop, filling up their folders with the weekly challenges and facing difficulties from figuring out who they admire to how to read a map. By the end of the week, there were designated longitude and latitude helpers! The best part was finding out at the Quest wasn’t just maps and numbers, but an actual study of specific countries. The heroes ended their week by practicing Spanish, researching pasta dishes and even historical facts about their specific countries.

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