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At Rolleston College Horoeka Haemata, learners in Year 9 and 10 are part of a Connected Learning Class. This class is where learners are exposed to the Mathematics, Science, English and Social Science learning areas from the New Zealand Curriculum. Learners have a learning ratio of one teacher to 30 learners, with most Connected lessons having 60 learners to two teachers, plus teacher-aides.
Connected learning is driven by ‘big ideas’ rather than specific content. These include ethical dilemmas, weighing up evidence and argument, exploring ways to preserve the past and educate for the future, rebuilding a country or an environment, and instigating a social action project.
Big ideas create authentic and real-world learning opportunities for learners. By exploring these big ideas learners will encounter and build skills and knowledge across four learning areas; English, Science, Mathematics and Social Studies. At times learning in this class will be specific to a learning area to all for knowledge or a skill to be obtained or mastered and at other times the learning design will have learning tasks that bring learning areas together. This allows learners to see the connections that happen in our everyday lives within their learning.
The big ideas that drive the Year 9 and 10 programme are as follows
Year 9 – Identity, Movement, Sustainability & Future/Innovation
Year 10 – Perception, Risk, Disruption & Adventure
From the big ideas come the key questions that drive the learning tasks from the four learning areas.
In Year 11 our Learners continue to be part of Connected classes. In each semester a learner will be in two connected learning classes which allows them to be exposed to the English, Science, Mathematics and Social Studies learning areas over the course of the year. Connected courses in Year 11 are a blend between two learning areas such as Science and Mathematics or English and Social Studies. See the below course description for Year 11 Patterns of Life in semester 1 (Biology & Mathematics) – Learners will explore the patterns of life in a local ecosystem. They will learn about the life processes, adaptations and environments of living things. Learners will analyse the data to determine the impact of humans on a local ecosystem.
In Year 12 and 13 courses are more specialised to meet the needs of senior learners as they start to focus more towards their specific future pathways. Many courses allow learners to use natural connections between them to make learning experiences more authentic.