Grade 11 Exordium

We are a team now!

Day 1: Canoeing Trip

For our first day of the Exordium Field Trip our class went canoeing on the Neckar. As a class, we took a train to Neckargemünd in the morning, all very sleepy, and we arrived at the river around 10:00. When we arrived there, we split up into rowing groups of four and we learned some rowing techniques that would help us during our trip. We had a 12k trip starting in Neckargemünd and ending in Heidelberg. During our trip, we worked as a team, learning many new skills along the way.

Regarding the ethics of choices and actions, it already started with taking the train as a class, instead of everyone coming alone by car, so we reduced our carbon footprint and were environmentally friendly. Furthermore, being on the water and facing the risk of falling in, the respect for each other was another key to our success and will remain so during all our time together.

Jesse, Luana, Ben, Yameng, Danielle, Gregor

When we arrived under the bridge where the instructor and the canoes waited for us, we were explained how to use the canoe and what the different roles in canoeing are. The three people in the front of the boat need to make sure the speed of the canoe is maintained, and the person in the back is the one in charge of steering the boat.

The first third of the trip was a bit of a mess. Many of us were inexperienced and had some trouble getting the hang of it. Most students were challenged by communication and cooperation with others at the start, and with the never-ending river, had a lack of motivation for many at the start. After what felt like hours upon hours of paddling the canoe, but actually was just one, we arrived at our first stop.

After the long break and transporting the canoes on a metal-like canoe carriage from one side of the lock to the other, we also had to mix up a few groups to balance out the faster and slower teams. Finally, we continued our journey. Compared to the beginning, everyone was gaining confidence in their abilities, and put more effort into the venture. This part of the boat ride took the longest, lasting over an hour. At this point, our strength, and endurance were truly challenged as we crossed the other side of the river.

For many, this track was the part that set their mood for the rest of the day, as messing up and losing control of the canoe during this part of paddling really would dampen one’s mood. Nevertheless, most groups managed to work together as a unit and realised that they worked well as a team, and noted that the final part of the tour was more enjoyable, with more laughs than the first.

Everyone enjoyed the view of the Heidelberg Castle in the forest-covered hills as we rowed our boats gently down the stream. All the canoes arrived at the Neckarwiese at around the same time and now the only thing that bothered us was the long dreadful walk back to school…

Pierce, Matthys, Elli, Ali, Toni, Masha, Annika

Day 2: Kletterwald Speyer

On the second Day of the Exordium we went to the Kletterwald in Speyer. It was a great experience as it was our first-time zip lining and doing so many fun activities like climbing, passing obstacle courses. We also played games and did team-building activities, which helped us get to know each other better.

The class faced several challenges during the team-building collaborative activities. The first activity required us to find our way through an invisible maze. This forced everyone to pay attention to where you could and couldn’t go. Some people had trouble with this, while others found it quite simple. However, we finally made it through to the end and completed the challenge. The next challenge was to help each other get through a spider web made of ropes without touching it. This forced us to work together as a team and to plan who and how to bring people through various holes in the web.

The final challenge was to scale a flat wall as a team. Here we also had to plan and give people roles that they were fit for. We had to first make sure to get some stronger students over the wall and leave some on the ground to help others pass it. All of these activities strengthened our collaborative skills and knowledge of each other.

Overall, the experience was a great way of getting to know each other and learning to work together to solve problems. This skill is one that we will need to know for the next two years of our Diploma Program. Team building activities were especially helpful as there were a lot of new students.

Lily, Nándor, Anton, Kengo, Shishira, Daksh, Mark

The instructors took us to a large spider web with 15 different rectangles. At least one person had to climb through each rectangle. This was a hard activity, as some of the rectangles were 2 meters above ground and we were not allowed to touch the ropes of the web. Therefore, we had to stand on each other’s backs or be lifted up by other classmates in order to complete this challenge.

As a last part to the team-building activities we had to form pairs of two. One partner was blind folded and the other had to lead him or her through an obstacle course. During this exercise we learned to fully trust and rely on our partner when we were blind folded. When you were the one leading the blind folded person, you learned how important it is, not to give the wrong direction and be someone the other person could rely on.

For lunch, we had a lot of options that offered vegetarian and even non-vegetarian. The costs for all the food was covered by school. The pizza we had ordered was not good, there were two options available (Margarita and Salami). The french fries were good, they were served hot with a variety of different combinations like pommes wurst, pommes currywurst and pommes. The dippings available were ketchup and mayonnaise. Ice cream was available, there were a lot of flavours available for all of us. School brought the class some snacks (nuts, chips, gummy bears).

During the day, the class as a whole required to be committed and persistent. While leading our blindfolded partner through obstacles, we had to be committed to each other, so that our partner reached the destination. We were required to be committed to our team and goals. We had to be persistent in guiding our partner through tough paths and not be impatient. We also had to be persistent during climbing, as we were required to complete the activities even though they were hard and challenging. During the team building activity, where we had to manage to send everybody to the other side of the ropes, we were required to have perseverance and be committed to our goal in order to make sure all the people involved got to the other side.

The day we spent together in the Kletterwald Speyer really helped us bond as a class. Particularly the first few team-building activities required us to trust and rely on each other.

Oz, Kaya, Medha, Ethan, Vincent, Sofie


Self-power Day Numbers

Lighting the Eiffel Tower

And the numbers are in…..

On  September 10 a total of 120 H.I.S students and staff self-powered to school. We walked  and cycled about 236 kilometers, and, assuming everyone self-powered home, 472 kilometers during the day.

For our estimate, we assumed a 1km commute for those not quite sure how far they travelled.

Traveling this distance individually, each in an average-sized auto, emits an estimated 114 kg of carbon dioxide into the earth’s atmosphere, according to

The calculator on put this estimate at 128 kg CO2, and estimates this is equivalent to lighting the Eiffel Tower for two days!

Thank you again for all who helped to reduce our carbon footprint!

Self-Power to School

Thank you, for making a difference!

H.I.S. students and staff walked, biked, jogged, or found other ways to self-power to school this morning.
We had lovely weather and conversations about nature. Some arrived together, others explored new ways to journey in on their own.
We hope this event motivates us to continue to think of ways we can conserve and protect nature throughout the year.
Thank you for making a difference!
text: CH
photo: SAB

Thank you!

Generous Donation from Reckitt Benckiser

We thank our Co-operation Partner, Reckitt Benckiser, for donating golden “FATBOYS” to our school. The students were thrilled to receive the beanbags and immediately turned one part of the school into a Lounge Area.

photo: KW