ML Muster: Explore Project Update

ML Muster: Explore Project Update

By Chad Walsh / January 26, 2023 / Middle Loop Muster

We are already in week 3 after returning from the December break. Time is flying! As time whizzes by in our daily lives, it is so valuable to take the time to be still and slow down. A really great way to promote a sense of stillness is to create a space that invites us to focus. This is also true with learning spaces. In Early Years, we often refer to the physical environment as the third teacher. This philosophy is one that we are embracing in the Middle Loop too. Once the spaces are set, LDs will then take students through a process to help students find focus and direction in selecting an Explore Project that will challenge, empower, and engage.

JC and his Explore team of learning designers have been investing in creating physical spaces that allow students to ponder, reflect and create. 

Explore Projects are an opportunity for students to show what they think, feel, and can do.

The best way to promote this is to set up the space in a way where students have direct access to take their ideas and make prototypes with their hands. For that, we need resources and the space to do that type of work.

The below visual helps us think about a deliberate process and how to make ideas happen. Alliteration just naturally worked for these 4 phases. Purpose, Play, Ponder, and Possibility. We believe if all these 4 Ps are present (that P word was not intended) then the process (again) promotes better performance and persistence. (Now, I'm just getting tricky 😜)

Ideas reveal possibilities. These 4 P words help frame students' ideas to really think deeply about their purpose, so their projects do matter and have the desired impact they are hoping for.

That is exactly what we are designing for in the Middle Loop.

The Space to Design

Successful people have something in common; they use their time, focus, and money wisely. They also create and pursue specific goals. Here’s where Middle Loop’s Explore focus is for the next semester.

Before learners embark on their next topic or problem to explore or problem they need to use a budget, research, and the VERSO Design Thinking cycle to solve the following driving question.

How could I design a motivating workspace for my Explore project that helps me focus?

So far, learners have uncovered that lavender is a soothing and focusing smell, that soft lighting promotes calmness, that headphones with curated music will increase productivity, that certain indoor plants filter the air better than others, that 45 minutes of work should be complemented by 15 minutes rest and that productivity tools such as to-do lists, goals and Kanban boards give us the ‘visual signal’ that we need to produce timely, high-quality work.

Your sons and daughters have been busy researching, sketching, and building THEIR space.

Each week this semester we are teaching a skill that will improve their design thinking, project, or communication skills. As we teach these skills, learners will then practice and apply the learned skills to their own explore projects. In the first two weeks of our Space Design project, we have workshopped research and essay techniques, 2D sketching - engineers today still start their projects with a 2D sketching today -  and how real-world companies test their products.

Written by JC

Students were explicitly taught the process of how to sketch and design their spaces through an Explore Workshop

Intentionally designing and creating spaces that set them up for success.

Office spaces are organized where a sense of pride and purpose come together.

The above photos showcase some of the initial work and focus on developing the students' spaces. We are now utilizing the second floor in the Middle Loop to devote a dedicated Explore space so it is intentional when walking into that space - there is a clear purpose. It is all a 'work in progress' right now and will evolve as the needs of the students change in their project work. We will provide further updates as students define and refine their driving questions for Explore Project #2.

Science Labs and Visual Arts are formally offered and we have activated these spaces in line with our new 6-Day schedule. As we continue to enhance our Middle Loop program we will also be considering ways we can have electives for students to choose from if they wish to do more science, visual arts, or music and performing arts on Day C and Day F. We would design a program where Day A, B, D, and E are core components of our program and Day C and Day F are electives. There is a process we need to go through in order to develop this in a meaningful way. We're just letting you know that this is something we are open to designing as we take our program to even new heights in the experiences we offer students.

We hope that you can attend the parent coffee in the Middle Loop foyer on Wednesday, 30 November at 8:00am. Ashley and some of our students will be leading this with an overview of how Learning Lab and Math Lab work


Below is a photo of the general Explore space on the second floor for LDs to share demo lessons, develop skills, and make stuff.

VERSO HACK has become our school's annual flagship event, attracting keen interest from aspiring student entrepreneurs aged 13-18 across the country and in the Thai startup community. VERSO is also the first international school in Thailand to host this type of inter-school hackathon.

This year, over 105 students from schools across the country have signed signed up for Thailand's leading student hackathon.

During a hackathon, students will design, develop, present and deliver a prototype and/or solution to a design challenge. They will participate in workshops, network with mentors and experts from the startup and tech community, and gain valuable skills. No prior experience or programming knowledge is required.

The final pitching round will be held on Sunday, 5 February, 2023 at 1:00PM and we hope many of you can attend to lend your support to the students and hear some incredible presentations that they will pitch to the judges.

Visit for more details and to book your free tickets.

Thank you for your continued support as we work and learn together. Please reach out to us at any time if you have any questions or require further support. We are with you every step of the way.

Best wishes,

Chad and the ML Team