Exordium 2020

Day 1

The Grade 11 class went on a two-day field trip, also known as the Exordium. The Exordium is a key feature of the Diploma Programme (DP) Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS) program and falls under the category activity. The Exordium was organized by the school’s CAS Coordinator, Birgit Kress, and Eventure’s leader, Klaus Herrmann. On the first day of the Exordium, we participated in a six-hour-long canoeing trip along the Neckar river from Neckarelz to Zwingenberg. The second day was filled with team building activities, high rope-climbing, and trust jumps.

Meeting at the Hauptbahnhof at 8 am, we soon departed by train to Neckarelz where we met with two members of the Eventure team. In groups of three, we took on the river in our canoes, where we spent the next six hours. It was at times incredibly tiring, but we found fun in our interactions and the beautiful scenery. Shortly before our lunch break, we went through a lock which took us into the portion of the Neckar with a lower elevation. We stopped for lunch at the river bank and enjoyed the beautiful views and afternoon sun while we ate. We were very lucky to have such nice weather. Our trip drew to a close as we arrived at Zwingenberg, where after the strenuous trip we hauled our boats onto the shore and enjoyed ice cream from the truck waiting for us.

This activity was quite tiring and definitely pushed our limits, however, it was still a very progressive team-building venture. With the very small current present in the river, our teams had to work very hard in propelling our groups of three down the river. To be able to do this for such a length of time, it was dire that our groups of three learn how to synchronize our rowing to achieve the fastest and straightest route.

While it did take some time to establish the correct form for each team, we all perfected our “ways of rowing” and focused on keeping a steady rhythm of paddling and conversation with our fellow teammates. Many groups even partnered up and connected with other canoes where one group was responsible for the left-side paddling while the other was responsible for the right. This also brought along many interesting hours as we attempted to perfect our rowing form while also being able to spend time with one another in a very close environment. Furthermore, these situations always present room for reflection. As improvements, many teams could have worked harder at keeping up with the rest of the class, as in many cases, a majority of the teams had to wait for the remainder to catch up from quite a distance. Despite this small hiccup the trip was quite successful and brought forth many laughs, though, many weary arms!

CAROLIN, KALEY, ALENA, LOUIS

Day 2 

On Saturday morning at 9am we all met up in the train station and by 9:30 we were on our way. After about a 30 minute train ride we walked around the town Eberbach for a few minutes before getting on the bus to the Eventure house in Mudau. At the Eventure house after rules and instructions were given the whole class and the teachers were all put in harness and helmets that we would later need for the high rope courses. We started the day off by doing some team building where we had to work together to create a plan. The goal of the plan was to find a way from point A to B walking along steel wires that were about half a meter from the ground. The class was split into boys and girls and both groups started from different points but had the same destination. In between these steel wires there would be useful things like ropes tied to trees to help us get across. If anyone fell off the wires into the imaginary swamp everyone had to restart from the beginning so any progress was lost. This activity took us a long time at first but when we found our plan that worked the pace started to speed up.

Once we completed the team building exercise we moved locations to the high rope course where we were given cow tails and instructions on how to properly use them. Then we all picked a partner to go through the course with which made sure each other were always attached to a rope while moving in between different courses. Once we started it was very clear that it appeared much easier than it would be. A few times some of us even got stuck but Mr.Claus came to the rescue.

Once everyone was finished we all met on a tall platform where our classmate Louis helped Mr. Claus while one at a time we descended down bouncing off a wall. The last activity we did required a lot of trust with each other. The task was to climb a ladder until we reached a platform which we would later jump off attempting to hit a ball. The reason this required a lot of trust was because we were hooked to a rope while jumping off but the rate at which we reached the ground was fully in the hands of the students. The rope we were hooked to was held by 10 classmates at the bottom. Not all the students participated in this as it was very scary. All the activities left the whole class very tired but at the end of the day before we left we all got pizza and drinks so we all ate and talked which left the class having an even stronger bond than before. The trip was a lot of fun and it was nice to be able to have this opportunity.

ANSLEY,​ SARA, NOA, GIULIA

Konnie Takes Public Transport

I am trying to give Konnie a range of experiences.  At the weekend, he travelled by bus and tram for the first time.

He was very excited to have a day out in the big city of Heidelberg and behaved very well on public transport.

He was incredibly tired after his day of trying new things and slept well last night.

text & photo KvG

Field Trip to Carl Bosch Museum

Grade 7 students explore the power of magnets

When Science and Mathematics meet, electric motors can be built, using the power of magnets and metals.

The Grade 7 students have successfully proven that the scientific laws of the Universe are mathematical, while taking part in a whole day visit to Carl Bosch Museum in Heidelberg on Monday 13th January 2020.

The students built their own electric motors at Carl Bosch Museum, after learning about magnetism in class in the course of their current Science Unit.

The students have described the trip as joyful, fascinating but too short to experience all the possible fun one can have with Science and Mathematics.

 

MM

 

Swimming Competition

Stadtschulmeisterschaften - Congratulations to all H.I.S. participants!

Over the past 2 weeks students from H.I.S. have taken part in the ‘Heidelberger Stadtschulmeisterschaften Schwimmen’. This is an annual swimming competition held for the city’s schools at the Olympiastüztpunkt in Neuenheimerfeld.

As our swimming programme has developed over recent years we decided that it was time that H.I.S. students join in the fun and represent the school.

On Tuesday 3rd December it was the turn of the Primary School students (Grade 1 to Grade 4 in the German state school system). A group of 10 very excited students from Grades 3 and 4 boarded their ‘team’ bus and spent the journey asking questions like:

Where would the competition would be?

Would there be lots of children and schools present?

Would there be ‘big’ kids?

Are the other children fast?

All these questions were soon answered and the students competed in individual events in 25m front crawl and breaststroke (Lieselot of Grade 3 coming away with a bronze medal for her 3rd place in breaststroke).

Representing the Primary School were Hannah, Lieselot, Ella, Sephora, Alexa, Charlotte, James, Thijs, Philipp and Lucas.

On the following Tuesday it was the turn of our secondary school students (including Grade 5). The group was a bit more reserved, but no less excited about the event. Students swam individual 50m freestyle events (any stroke) and this time we also entered teams into the relays. Carolin of Grade 10 was the fastest girl in Heidelberg, not only for her age, but overall and came away with a gold medal. The relays brought further medals and the girls (2006-2009) placed third in their event, winning bronze medals.

Representing the Secondary School were Carolin, Elli, Zara, Grace, Caera, Claudia, Molly, Sophia, Charlotte, Maahi, Dóra, Hannah, Charlotte, Ruthie, Adrian, Cy, Trey, Dhruv, Jasper, Thijs and Kallum.

This was a fantastic experience for the participants and everyone was extremely proud of their efforts. Julia and I remember some of these students just starting to swim when they were in Grade 3 and to see them compete in a city-wide competition made us very proud.

After witnessing the development of our Grade 3 and  Grade 4 swimmers this year we would like to thank the Franziska van Almsick Foundation for the support with our swimming program. Since the beginning of the school year the students have had weekly swimming lessons and more recently we have also had the services of an additional swimming teaching assistant. The progress the students have made is clear to see. H.I.S. is committed to developing confident swimmers and we look forward to our continued partnership.

We will certainly be at next year’s competition so to any undiscovered swimmers – we will find you!

 

AR and JE

Decorate our Skyscraper!

Christmas time is here and the skyscraper is being decorated! Three new special edition Christmas items will soon be available to buy.

As you all know, the skyscraper is displayed on the window in the foyer and you can buy items to place on it. There are already so many items that have been bought to complete the building.

We would like to raise as much money as possible so that we are able to supply everything we need to help build homes for families in Romania and to realize individual projects in Namibia on our CAS trips 2020.

So far we have raised 705 € that will all go towards our CAS trips. Starting Monday the 2nd December, you can buy:

  • a string of lights for only 3€,
  • a Christmas wreath for 5€, and
  • a beautiful snowman for 10€.

These items can be purchased with the order forms that will be sent out with the newsletter and found underneath the skyscraper. There you can also place your order in the black donation box. We would like to thank anyone that has spent their money for the cause, we really appreciate it. Grade 11 encourages you to help us prepare the building for Christmas.

Come decorate the skyscraper!

Kira, grade 11

The Power of Wild Herbs

Group 4 Project Grade 12

The Group 4 project is a compulsory component of the Diploma Programme and is a collaborative activity where students from different group 4 subjects (Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science and Physics) work together on a scientific or technological topic, allowing for concepts and perceptions from across the disciplines to be shared with the aim to encourage an understanding of the relationships between scientific disciplines and the overarching nature of the scientific method.

This year the IBDP Grade 12 students mixed the business with pleasure and went out on a fun collaborative outdoor trip to map wild herbs. They worked with Friederike Niestroj (Naturally Heidelberg) and Marcus Seuser (Geo-Naturpark Bergstraße-Odenwald). Along with the science of orchards and their significance for the regional economy, they learned about wild herbs and how they could be used for medicinal purposes. In addition to science, the history of the area around Posseltslust was discussed. The trip involved practical field exercises, collecting and mapping wild herbs using digital technology (two apps were used). To celebrate the success of the trip , students and their teachers enjoyed a culinary end – the preparation of wild herbs in quark with bread.

There will be a follow up activity in two weeks’ time, when Marcus Seuser will come to the Heidelberg International School and will show the data collected.

Exordium

The annual Diploma Exordium Trip took place from Thursday 12th to Saturday 14th September for all Grade 11 students and three teachers. We stayed at the “Naturfreundehaus” in Zwingenberg (Odenwald). We canoed along the Neckar on the Friday accompanied by our instructor from the outdoor pursuits company Eventure and went on a hike in Zwingenberg. Then, on the Saturday, we visited a team-building and climbing centre in Mudau. The students were responsible for taking care of the whole group’s needs by carrying out special tasks. These tasks included cooking dinner, creating a shopping list or tidying up after a meal.
Have fun reading the grade 11 comments about his successful trip:
BK

Preperation
The Exordium was an opportunity to come together as a class. And everyone was assigned specific tasks out of which we were on the shopping team and had to buy everything from the supermarket. We had to plan and communicate with the class regarding what to buy and made a list. And on the day we left, before boarding the train to Odenwald, we had to go to the nearby Kaufland. In order to minimise the shopping time we divided ourselves into groups of 2. We had to buy food for 21 people and it was so much fun to buy everything as the amount of food we bought was huge. We look forward to other trips like this.
Gowri, Adelia, Nici

Cooking
We were assigned the task of helping out with cooking dinner for everyone. To make this more exciting for everyone, we decided to grill. It started off with making the fire and setting up the grilling stand. The tedious part of it was the preparation. We had to slice vegetables, marinate meat, and garnish and dress the salad. Many people volunteered to help, which made everything easier and quicker. Although most of the people were meat-eaters, there were a few that preferred vegan food. So, to accommodate everyone, we grilled a good balance of vegetables and meat. With a lot of experimenting, we managed to understand how to work the grilling stand without burning it all.
We sat around the bonfire as the evening began to close in. Between the sound of our laughs, the smell of smoke and grill filled the air. It looked like the perfect time to share old stories, laugh at silly jokes, be grateful and get closer as a class. Ultimately, the idea of grilling was a huge success. The food turned out to be better than we anticipated and all our efforts had paid off. It was one of the most enjoyable experiences we had as a group and definitely one to remember.
Ishika, Andrew, Lennard

Tidy up
One important aspect of the trip, though, was food. During the Exordium, apart from going outside, we also ate. A lot. Which means that we also ended cleaning up stacks of plates. We thought it was an easy task, but…there were lots. And lots. And lots. Of utensils. Clearing, washing, scrubbing, drying, and organizing, it took the teams the better part of an hour to finish. By the time we were done, we were exhausted and could not look at another plate. It was a grueling task, but we tackled the job and did what needed to be done. And, well, since we were the only ones next to the fridge, well…we had a little added bonus to compensate for the hard work.
Alex, Joe, Joseph, Muhi

Canoeing On Friday we went on a six-hour canoeing drip on the Neckar. Throughout the trip, we were challenged to complete a variety of team activities. First, our guide Ralph encouraged us to form a star with the canoes. Although it was difficult, we managed to complete the task at the end. Halfway through, the students switched canoes on the water, while focusing on not falling in. Additionally, we built a pyramid with the canoes which required us to communicate and work together. Overall the experience was very enjoyable and we recommend it to others. Giacomo, Francesco, Kira, Leoni
Hiking
Hiking in Zwingenberg was amazing I loved it, but after 2 hours it started getting a little tiring… what didn’t make it feel tiring was the view in the mountain and I hiked with Frau Kress so I had company which was great. During the hike we saw a beautiful stream running into the neckar it was so beautiful the views were so pretty that I just kept on saying beautiful , amazing , pretty etc.
We walked from the Naturfreundehaus to the castle to the hike of the „Wolfsschlucht“ and back to the Naturfreundehaus all together it took around 3 to 4 hours and it was 9,9 km . I enjoyed and I thank Frau Kress for making the hike fun and enjoyable .
Shahad

In the Forest … Saturday morning we woke up, packed all our bags, cleaned our rooms and went down for breakfast. When we finished, we packed up the last things, and as soon as everything was in order, we walked to the train station where we would be getting picked up by a bus. The bus brought us to the Eventure house, where we received our harnesses and helmets for the high-rope climbing we would be doing.
Our first activity was a team-building exercise. It consisted of an arrangement of steel wires suspended between trees, half a meter above the ground. Under the wires there was “an imaginary swamp”, so if anyone fell from the wires, everybody had to go back to the beginning. Two teams started on opposite sides of the course, and as we got closer, we had to work together to get to the end without falling. We succeeded at last, after about 50 minutes, however considering that we were a group of 20, we did really well.
After this, we walked a little further in the woods, and we got additions to our gear. Carabiners and cow tail ropes. We got some further instructions, because now we would be going higher up in the trees to complete some courses that required some clever footwork. We all needed partners to check that our cow tails were secured properly on the overhead steel wires. When we had finished, we needed a way down from the tall platform we all stood on, so we abseiled down with the help of our guide, Klaus.
Our last activity was one that required a great deal of nerve, and therefore it was voluntary, not required. The task was to climb a ladder up to a platform, about 7 or 8 meters above the ground. Hanging a bit away from the platform was a football. You had to jump off the platform. If you could, you should try to hit the ball as well. You were suspended on ropes, held by 10 classmates on the ground below you. This task was really quite scary, and focusing on hitting the ball only made it a little bit better. Most of the students in the class did it, and I think that was quite amazing.
When we all finished, we went back to the main house, took off our gear, and ate some pizza that had been ordered while we were away.
Overall, a great opportunity, and we all had lots of fun.
Laura, Nora, Josefina

Habitat for Humanity – Final Post

The day started back at the site where our group split into two, one to do cleanup around the site, and the second to pull more nails out of wood. Soon after, a third group was formed to move piles of wood out of the way. The jobs that day were a lot of clean-up and preparation for the next group coming in on Saturday as sadly it was nearly time for us to leave. At this point, the roof was nearly finished and the support beams were being taken down to allow work on the next building stage.

Nearing a break, the group was called over to the Romanian school we have been building next to. It was here where we truly got to understand the reason for all of our work. With Adi to translate, we met a worker from the school who told us of the severity of the situation involving the children at school. This building taught grades 1-8, a smaller range than our own school, but at the same time, in a significantly smaller space. We counted 5 classrooms and one more classroom that was converted to a gym still with its carpets, chalkboard, and teachers desk. We learned about the olympic accomplishments of Romania in gymnastics and the children’s love for football and tennis, although they are not always able to play for lack of equipment.

The already small classes dwindle by the end of 8th grade with a 50% dropout rate, parents become less interested to keep their children in school, despite the compensation of 30 Euro a month up to 8th grade, and urge them instead to get jobs and get married. Instead of highschool, these children are starting adult lives at 13 or 15 simply because it is too expensive to continue learning. Because of this there are only two highschools in Buftea and not a single college. The first highschool teaches agriculture and industry while the second is technology based. For learning skills outside of highschool, there is the option to go to community centers where admission fees are high, the classes are too big, and the students don’t end up learning much. The result of all of this is limiting the possibilities to the generations of children.

Now, in case there was any doubt of the potential of the children here, we were introduced to a young boy who goes to kindergarten in the area and recited a 99 verse poem. Not only did he recite it word for word, but he understood it. He raised his voice and hands to express the emotions. A six year old, learned this off of YouTube alone. And we saw the potential of these children who are held back from their education.

Our mission in this building was to provide a safe and reliable place for these children to go after school, after work, or whenever they can to learn in proper classes the skills they can use to stand up for their generation and change their country run by an unjust government. The government that despite claiming democracy and freedom, still requires cameras in every classroom by law. A government that refuses to spread it’s funds equally. Adi told us of how Romania has everything anyone could want, a full four seasons, a seaside, beautiful mountains, and a common quote: “Romania is such a beautiful country, it’s too bad its populated” We want to change this through our community center, and are honored to be a part of this amazing project.

Ellison & Pritha

Habitat for Humanity – Day 5 in Romania

Today got off to a late start as we got lost in traffic leading to us being well over an hour late at the building site. We then played a game called Shaolin Master in which everyone would have to strike one of four poses and then if anyone had the same pose as the leader they would be eliminated. This ended in a tense final between Derin and Pritha in which Pritha won.

We then started working on site with everyone’s first task. For the boys, it was cleaning the worksite of small bits of wood and wires. The girls then split into two groups, one removed nails from planks and the other group cleaned.

The main challenge of the day was once more the extreme heat, which made every job much more difficult. For the boys, who were carrying wooden beams from the second floor to the ground as well as metal support beams, the heat made being on the ground floor extremely tiring. We had to take a few extra breaks to rehydrate due to the heat. By the end it was satisfying to see the work that we had done.

 Another challenge for some was a small dog named Bella who would love to play with us. We had to make sure she was not in the way whilst we were working. This is why I consider her a challenge that had to be worked around.

The girls mostly spent their day removing nails from pieces of wood from the concrete casing, which the workers were breaking throughout the day. One of the girls labeled the work as ‘therapeutic’. The work was mostly done with crowbars and hammers. At one point the boys joined in on the fun! The other group of girls mainly helped clear the site at the bottom. Overall everyone had fun and worked to the best of their abilities on this very hot day.

 By Derin and Pietro

 

Habitat for Humanity Romania Day 4

Hello beloved parents and others interested, It is us- Mercy and Gaia – reporting to you live from Bucharest, Romania.

Today was an eventful day. The epic Grade 11 Habitat for Humanity students started off their morning with an even more epic breakfast, ranging from fruits and vegetables to sausages, which are supposed to be a local delicacy of sorts. Waking up was hard for many as much of their energy had been used the two previous days of INTENSE work. But alas, it did not bring their spirits and motivation down! By 9:17 the students found themselves once more at the building site!

Work started after a quick ice breaker (called ping pong), which their dear classmate Anika won. Thus, they proceeded afterwards to continue the tasks that they had been assigned. Two people worked on sanding down floor boards and adding varnish. Another group pulled out nails from wooden planks, a third painted more wooden planks with protective liquid (which went to be used as a base for the roof of the building) and another group worked on lifting planks to the roof.

Then, it was lunch time. The tension in the air was clear, as all opened their styrofoam boxes in what seemed to be slow motion, anticipating the food and hoping, no, WISHING, that it will be edible. A collective sigh of relief was then let out when the proteins of the course were discovered to be chew-able chicken, and the vegetarian option was actually seasoned. This, however, was only the beginning of the surprises that followed suit.

For the past days, there were rumors spreading like a wildfire through the group of a surprise coming. Right after lunch the group was called to assemble and were told that all the rumors were TRUE! The surprise they were waiting for was a journey into the unknown lands of Buftea, full of stray cats and dogs and a green haven in the middle of the city.

The group started by making their way through the town of Buftea and headed towards Ştirbey Domain, which is a palace that used to be owned by the local royalty.

There they saw an adorable alpaca and some amazing peacocks (and a cat. Very important.)

They also came across a stunning church, which stood tall against their small bodies, eyes gazing upwards in admiration.

By the time they were all back, they went to a colorful, cheerful Turkish restaurant and ordered a plethora of food, as expected after a long day out.

Note: Bella’s fandom was greatly disappointed in her absence on site today