On Expedition

On Expedition

blue peter OB
Read more about the Nautical Flag, Blue Peter, here:


When a ship is flying Blue Peter, everyone knows that its voyage is about to begin!

FSI grade level crews have launched three expeditions in the past couple of weeks!

“On Expedition” are:

9th-10th Grades in “On the Move”

Throughout this expedition, students will look at different populations of people and animals migrating throughout Asheville. They will explore the diversity of these groups and how they have changed over time. In Civics, students will complete a case-study of a neighborhood in Asheville, digging into demographics and census data to paint a picture of how the neighborhood has changed over time; in ELA, students will craft a spoken word poem to reflect the consequences of those changes in their studied neighborhood; in Science, students will be collecting data on plant species, bird, and tree species, examining a question of biodiversity through a scientific research paper; in Math, students will create data displays from their science and social students research using graphs and statistics. Students’ elective courses will also supplement the expedition through song-writing and scientific drawings.  Our celebrations of learning will take place on:

  • March 24th, on the FSI campus– Science fair-style with the FSI community
  • Saturday, April 23rd, at Grey Eagle–Habitat for Humanity FSI Student Build Kick-Off & Fundraiser!!!  (More info on this event coming soon!)  

Students will share science projects, math data, neighborhood projects, song lyrics, art classes, spoken word poems with the FSI and larger Asheville area communities. They will each select at least two pieces out of the work samples that answer the essential questions:

Guiding Questions:
Why do people move?             

What  are the consequences of moving?           

Why is diversity good?
1.  Why don’t we stay in one place? Why do we move?


2. What is the impact of invasives on biodiversity on the FSI property?


3. How can data inform and influence our decision making?

4. What does the data tell us about migration and invasives?

5. What are the local, state, and federal political issues with immigration?


6. How is Asheville impacted through immigration?


7. How can I help create a more diverse population at FSI?


The UNC Asheville Arboretum served as our outdoor classroom for collecting bird and tree diversity data to contribute to Citizen Science.  We practiced the work of real ornithologists and  botanists in identifying species and recording data.
Marilyn Ball speaks to FSI students on her book:

The Rise of Asheville: An Exceptional History of Community Building.


Learning to use binoculars!



In order to collect accurate data, student scientists practiced sustained silent attention, quietly listening and looking for birds.

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8th Grade explores “Water Is Life!”

Water plays a crucial role in the development of communities throughout history. It is a source of conflict, cooperation, and competition between stakeholders in a community. Understanding the history and science of water–biologically and chemically–is key to maintaining water quality and explaining how a water source can serve multiple needs and uses.  For this expedition, students will investigate the meaning of the phrase “Water is Life” from historical, literary, and scientific perspectives.

As a culminating task, students will create a Hominy Creek Festival on the FSI Campus to share what we’ve learned about water quality, what we can do to make a difference, and our our studies have inspired creative and critical thinking and doing.  We’ll host a River Clean UP!  (Stay tuned for more info.)

Guiding Questions
  • How can an understanding of the hydrosphere, watersheds, and human uses of water in history and today impact our stewardship of water resources? (Science)  
  • How can data be converted into visual formats that are easily understood and compelling? (Math)
  • How have groups in history and today competed for, cooperated, and conflicted over water resources in North Carolina (Social Studies)
  • How do different cultural narratives about water inform our human story? (ELA)
Read about the Water Is Life Kickoff Here: 


Eric Bradford shares “Healing the Hominy Creek” at our creekside classroom.
Connie Regan-Blake’s storytelling set the stage for inquiry and imagination.




Innovation Grapple, with Peggy Altman:  

“How do we filter water?”


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Water Is Life Expedition involves service learning: planting live stake nursery on the FSI campus to prevent soil erosion along the banks of Hominy Creek.

7th Graders Explore:   “Technology at Work.”

In science, students are building Rube Goldberg machines in order to demonstrate Newton’s laws of force and motion, the law of energy conservation, and how the mechanical advantage provided by simple machines makes work more efficient. In social studies, students are creating “Illustrated Thinking Maps” that illustrate and prove how technological change created a multitude of effects for people, places, and regions when countries industrialize. In math, students are applying knowledge of measurement and geometric figures to create scale drawings, beginning with a drawing of a simple, three-dimensional skimmer and building up to an accurate scale drawing of their finished Rube Goldberg machines. Lastly, in ELA, students are preparing to interview professionals ranging from police officers and firefighters to doctors and graphic designers in an effort to determine how technological change has impacted these people’s professions as well as their daily lives. With this information, students will write “Living Portraits” and will create an artistic silhouette component, which will both be displayed during our “Celebration of Learning” at Warren Wilson College on April 7th.

Guiding Questions
  • How do machines work?
  • How did machines change working conditions as countries industrialized?
  • How does technological change shape Asheville’s workplace today?








Read more about this innovation project from Ms. Gold’s class:  https://sites.google.com/a/thefsi.us/the-gold-standard/home/modules/4—work-matters/week05-february22

The 7th grade will be taking its expedition on the road next week! On Wednesday, March 9th and Thursday, March 10th, students will visit Thermo Fisher Scientific in Weaverville.

TFS Laboratories “help scientists meet the challenges they face in the lab or in the field every day. From routine analysis to new discoveries, [their] innovations help professionals do the science they need to do, the way they want to do it. [Thermo Fisher’s] high-end analytical instruments, laboratory equipment, software, services, consumables and reagents help our customers solve complex analytical challenges, improve patient diagnostics and increase laboratory productivity.”

More to come on all these Expeditions!  Stay tuned.  We look forward to inviting the larger community to all the celebrations of learning.  There’s so much to celebrate at FSI.





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