Learning

Atlas 9

What is Atlas9?

Atlas9 is a dedicated year nine program that is designed to provide a highly distinguished environment that fosters a deep passion for learning and provides opportunities for students to take on greater levels of independence, responsibility and maturity. This aims to make a break from the style of schooling they have experienced in their junior years and prepare students for the challenges that they will face as they move through senior secondary school and out into further education and the workforce.

How does the semester work?

The semester is divided into three separate six week learning blocks labelled Foundation, Development and Excellence. This provides a framework for the development of the level of independence, maturity and responsibility that students are required to demonstrate to meet the program’s challenges.

Learning Block One - Foundation 

In the first learning block students develop a strong foundation in the knowledge and skills that they will need for the more dynamic challenges in the following two learning blocks. This remains fairly structured and is similar to the style of schooling that students are used to from years seven and eight.

Learning Block Two - Development 

In the second learning block students are presented with a set of challenges designed to test the skills and knowledge they have developed. For example, in the Growth subject students take on a design project that builds on the leadership and group development work from learning block one. They work in small teams to upcycle used materials into innovative products. Inquiry learning is a strong focus during this learning block.

Learning Block Three - Excellence 

In the third learning block students aim to develop excellence in their learning by extending on the work they have completed and taking an even greater level of ownership over their studies. They complete a range of projects in this learning block including a personal learning goal challenge where they select an area of weakness from the completed unit on the ‘whole self’ and put in place a plan for self-improvement.

Student Conferences

To cap off the semester and celebrate their achievements each student completes a student led conference. This is a thirty minute meeting led by the student with a parent and one of the Atlas9 staff where they present the work they have completed, reflecting on what has gone well and what can be improved for the future.

Key Concepts:

Growth Mindset

Examining their mindset challenges students to reassess the way they approach challenges. Students explore mindset theory and neuroplasticity through a range of learning tasks and practical challenges. Students are encouraged to develop a growth mindset where they believe that intelligence can be developed, that the brain is like a muscle that can be trained and this leads to the desire to improve.

“If it doesn't challenge you, it won’t change you!”

 Leadership & Group Development

To prepare students for the range of team challenges that they face throughout the semester they spend time learning about leadership and group development theory. Students develop a faith basis for leadership by learning about the prophets and saints. They use this knowledge to identify contemporary leaders who share the same characteristics. This is further extended in class by learning about Tuckman’s group development ladder through a series of scaffolded practical team challenges.

Subject overview:

Inquiry

This subject explores Geography through an inquiry-based learning approach. Once the foundational knowledge is developed students then translate this into a major geographic inquiry based around their year nine camp. Students have the choice between exploring an urban environment in the Melbourne CBD or a coastal environment at Paynesville and Cape Conran.

Growth 

This subject prepares students for the challenge of being able to work collaboratively and with a greater level of independence, similar to situations they might face in further study or the workplace.  This is achieved by getting students to work in teams on creative design projects. In preparation for this we look at a range of possible career options and investigate the requirements to realise these possibilities. This then progresses into learning about the Tuckman’s group development ladder in preparation for the design and creativity projects.

Knowledge 

This subject integrates parts of the Science and Health & Physical Education curriculum. Students begin with Ecology and cover food chains and webs, introduced species and sustainable land management strategies. This also supports the learning occurring in Inquiry. Attention then turns to Biology where students investigate the body’s response to extreme situations. This progresses into examining energy systems and how they help the body to survive and thrive.

Self

This is a personal development subject where students learn about developing a growth mindset to allow them to take on the challenges that confront them over the course of the semester. Students also build the skills to better manage their friendships through work on conflict. Students then identify an area in need of personal growth through a personal learning goal challenge.

Community 

This subject combines the mandated Religious Education curriculum with a community service placement. For a period of about six weeks students spend every Friday working out in the community at locations such as primary schools, early learning centres, rail trail reserves, etc. This gives students the opportunity to experience work that is solely for the benefit of others rather than themselves.

English & Mathematics 

These subjects are taught in line with the year seven to twelve English and Math curriculum. Please refer to those pages for more information.