One key part of Morgan Park Academy’s global curriculum is a school-wide Global Week each March. Upper School and Middle School students and teachers come together outside the classroom to share a broader range of learning experiences focused on language and culture, service, and sustainability. Lower School students explore the world’s countries and cultures closer to home.

This year’s experiences included trips to Japan, Puerto Rico, St. Louis, Washington, D.C., and a Wisconsin nature center; and local explorations of adventure sports and comics and graphic novels from March 18-22, 2024.

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Upper School

Japan

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Our Upper School travelers explored the Land of the Rising Sun from Tokyo to Hakone to Kyoto. They visited temples, castles, and shrines; experienced a traditional tea ceremony; viewed the world’s most populous city from Tokyo Tower; snacked and shopped in the Harajuku district; conquered the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing; feasted on sushi, yakitori, and okonomiyaki; engaged their minds and their senses at the mind-blowing TeamLab art installation — and much, much more!


Puerto Rico

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Project Week Puerto Rico was brimming with life, as our Upper School travelers enjoyed delicious food, beautiful beaches, historic sites, and rainforests alive with flora and fauna over the course of an unforgettable week in the Caribbean commonwealth.

They explored history, culture, and ecology in visits including Old San Juan, the El Yunque Rainforest, and the Caguana Ceremonial Ball Courts Site, an archaeological site considered to be one of the region’s most important Pre-Columbian sites.


Comics & Graphic Novels

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Upper School students explored sequential art in a Project Week experience focused on comics, zines, and graphic novels. Working primarily at the Hyde Park Art Center, students learned about the history of comics, including their role in LGBTQ+ and Black communities; read works by a wide range of creators; and created their own comics and zines.


Sports & Adventures

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Upper School students tackled a week of adventure throughout Chicago with a Project Week excursion featuring indoor skydiving, virtual reality games, rock climbing, go-kart racing, trampoline sports, paintball, and an escape room challenge. What a rush!


Middle School

Eighth Grade – Washington, D.C.

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In line with our Middle School curriculum, eighth-graders explored Washington, D.C., during Global Week. Students visited the significant historical sites of our nation’s capital and considered the role of an American citizen in an ever-changing global world and how they, too, can effect change for our country.

Sites of interest, including memorials and museums, were framed within the greater context of our nation’s history, both those things that have demonstrated progress and those areas where there is still much work to be done.

MPA students and teachers also were honored to be selected for participation in the wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.


Seventh Grade – St. Louis & Missouri

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Students traveled to the Show Me State to learn more about American history. In St. Louis, they visited museums, the basilica, and the world-famous St. Louis Zoo. No visit to St. Louis would be complete without a trip up the Arch with a bird’s-eye view of the West. In Hannibal, they explored the life of Mark Twain. This included a ghost tour and a visit to the cave where Twain and his friend used to play. The seventh-graders will be able to apply their new knowledge to their American History unit next fall.


Sixth Grade – Nature’s Classroom Institute, Wisconsin

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Students immersed themselves in the natural environment for ecosystem exploration and study, working together with their peers and learning about their role as a citizen of the earth from an environmental point of view.


Lower School

Fifth Grade

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During Global Week, fifth-graders created dynamic and colorful country magazines that showed off their research and non-fiction writing skills. Assigned counties that they might not typically know, students used their findings to publish magazines to teach their classmates about their country. They exposed themselves to new and unique cultural traditions celebrated the world over.

Students also had an opportunity to engage with a guest speaker who previously worked supporting refugees in Sudan, as a follow-up to last fall’s reading of “A Long Walk to Water.” On Friday, they tried cool snacks like cucumber-flavored chips to explore food traditions different from our own.


Fourth Grade: Zimbabwe & Japan

From sushi and origami to batik fabrics and soapstone birds, fourth-graders had an amazing time learning about Japan and Zimbabwe!

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Third Grade: Colombia & Marshall Islands

Hola! from Colombia and Iakwe! from the Marshall Islands, where our third-graders learned about two fantastic cultures.

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Second Grade: Kenya & Fiji

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First Grade: Chile & Papua New Guinea

Students learned about Chile and about Papua New Guinea — the people, cultures, plants and animals, foods, music and dance, and more!

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Kindergarten: Nigeria, Malawi & South Africa

Students had a blast learning about countries all over the African continent.

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PreK-4: Venezuela

PreK-4 had a great week “traveling” to Venezuela for Global Week! Students learned about the animals of the Amazon rainforest — did you know that a male anaconda is 9 feet long??!! — and learned to dance the Venezuelan joropo. They made arepas out of corn flour, tasted fruits, made delicious smoothies, and much more!

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PreK-3: Argentina

Our youngest students learned all about Argentina! They saw in their “travels” the brightly colored houses of Buenos Aires and the Cueva de las Manos (Cave of Hands) located along the Canon de Rio Pinturas, encountered llamas and armadillos, and discovered that there are more cows than people in some parts of Argentina.

They also learned what people in Argentina do for fun! First, they watched videos and then pretended to be tango dancers. While listening to music throughout the week, they discovered guitars are the main instrument in many of the songs. Also, they learned about soccer and played pato, a national sport that is something like a combination of polo and basketball.

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