Classroom Happenings

HFA Freshmen Build Computers

Recently 25 HFA freshmen had the opportunity to build computers in a fun and engaging team building exercise. The program was sponsored by Arrow, a Fortune 150 technology solutions company, in partnership with The Henry Ford. Guided by Arrow representatives, five teams of five freshmen each assembled a computer “from scratch” in a friendly competition, structured as a series of team building challenges. At each stage, teams had to successfully complete a challenge activity in order to receive the next computer component, which team members then learned how to install. By the end of the 1½ hour session, five complete desktop computers had been assembled, and the freshmen had experienced a unique, team-based learning opportunity.

STEAM I Class creates cards with paper circuits

Food and Agriculture Class

STEAM I Class creates Blinky Bots

US History class in The Henry Ford

As a culminating activity Mr Burton's US history class investigated the Civil Rights movement by taking a look at the artifacts in the "Liberty and Justice for All" section at The Henry Ford.  The students also took an interesting trip to investigate the history of presidential vehicles.  Everything from Teddy Roosevelt's carriage to the famous JFK limo were investigated. 

Learning at the Benson Ford Research Center

The American Literature course is beginning their research unit on influential women in history. Students were split into two group rotations. The first group learned how to truly research and use data bases as well as distinguish primary and secondary sources. The second group went into the archives and were able to see original photos and 3D artifacts from Helen Keller, Amelia Earhart, Julia Child, Elizabeth Firestone and women's march items. This hands on experience is what makes their lessons more tangible and relevant. The students really see how incredible their opportunities are here when they experience our resources outside of the classroom.


Creating pictures with Polar Graphs and Desmos

Students in Ms. Werner’s Precalculus class have been creating pictures by graphing Polar Coordinates using the Desmos online calculator.

This is a great example of using technology to extend and enhance the curriculum.



HFLI and HFA Join for STEAM Lab

On December 8th, 9th, and 10th, students at Henry Ford Academy participated in a free weekend workshop at Henry Ford Academy.  The project, sponsored by Ford and Henry Ford Learning Institute, was called Ford STEAM Lab JumpStart.  Students worked together in teams to build a cell phone app and practiced making a professional "pitch" of their idea (like you would see on ABC's Shark Tank).  A panel of judges gave each group feedback for their ideas and winners were chosen.  A big thanks to HFLI: students really developed in group work, problem solving, communication, public speaking, and self-confidence. 

Henry Ford Academy's Curriculum

Welcome to Henry Ford Academy! HFA's Curriculum is rooted in Henry Ford's original vision of a school in a Museum - a place where Learning by Doing is a guiding principle and subjects such as Math, Science, English, Social Studies and other subjects are not just learned about in textbooks, but come alive through real world problems and Project-Based Learning (PBL). HFA presents students with a rigorous curriculum, where they not only become proficient in content knowledge, but develop critical 21st Century Skills, such as problem-solving, collaboration, technology skills, and speaking in front of groups.  

Strong Academic Partners

In addition to a strong core academic curriculum, HFA utilizes its partnerships with The Henry Ford and Ford Motor Company to deliver unique learning opportunities!  Students can take courses such as Food and Agriculture @ Firestone Farm, Village History, Ecology of the Oxbow, and STEM 9. Students also exlpore real-world interests in Art & Design, Music, Digital Music, Physical Education, Graphic Design, Coding, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).

Design Thinking

The HFA Curriculum teaches a specific method for creative problem solving and innovative mindsets: this is the Design Thinking process. Students practice the principles of Design Thinking - empathy, define, ideate, prototype, and test - as they complete Design Challenges both in their regular classes and in school-wide challenges.  Challenges include: Designing the City of the Future; The Backpack Challenge; The Study Buddy Challenge; Impacting Your Community; and Designing a New Exhibit at The Henry Ford.  The skills gained in these challenges allow students to not only understand advanced concepts and use 21st century skills, but apply learning to real-life situations and Change Their World

Career Focused

At Henry Ford Academy, the curriculum focuses on connecting subject-matter to Real-World Careers. This focus area takes shape in the grades 9 and 10 where students think about the Career Pathways they want to explore and shadow different careers of interest. In the Junior year, the Senior Mastery Process begins: students take a deep dive into what their strengths are, what careers are the best fit for them, and what colleges interest them. In the Senior year, students participate in a 75-hour Senior Practicum, which is an internship, on-site experience in the career field of their choice. Next, seniors author a 15 page essay on a research-based question pertaining to their Practicum experience and create a 3D product that addresses a real-world need in the work place. Finally, students present to an adult panel about their research, experience, and product.     

College Focused

In conjunction with a focus on careers, Henry Ford Academy has a College Focus, rooted in awareness and exploration, and then making college attendnace a reality. Students spend the early years at HFA exploring local and state-wide colleges with on-site tours and presentations.  In the Junior year, students experience HFA's college fair at U of M Dearborn and take an out-of-state college trip and begin the process of more closely exploring colleges and specific career exploration programs. Students spend time in Junior year carefully preparing for the important SAT and ACT tests and learn test taking skills in Strategies in Math and ELA and free Saturday test prep sessions. Finally, in the Senior year, students have weekly on-site admissions from an array of colleges and are counseled through the college application and finanacial aid application process through our college counselor. HFA college alumni regularly visit HFA for presentations about being successful in college and pitfalls to avoid.               

Global Citizenship

HFA emphasizes thinking globally and acting locally - students begin to see that the world around them expands beyond their neighborhood, Wayne County, Michigan, and the US. HFA strives to empower students to make Change Their World by making change in their school and home communities and develop a sense of empathy as they approach their learning in science, social studies, and literature. Teachers emphasize getting and understanding of different points of view, valuing diverse experiences and persepctives, and taking a stand on ideas that students feel passionately about. Foriegn Language clubs and classes take annual trips to Germany and Spain, and the school is regularly enagaed in school-wide activities like Mix It Up at Lunch Day, Heritage Food Festival, and Community-Based Design Challenges. There is a 40 hour Commnity Service requirement for all students for graduation and the HFA Link Crew allows upper classmen students to mentor and support HFA 9th graders.        

Supporting Student Academics

Henry Ford Academy puts Learning First and supports student learning in a variety of ways! Parents have full access to assignments, grades and teacher websites through the HFA website and MiStar Parent Portal. HFA holds parent-teacher conferences three times per year and kicks off the year with a Curriculum Night and Open House. We know many students need extra help and one-on-one attention, every Tuesday and Thursday students have Academic Coaching, a time when they can get help from teachers, study or work in small groups. HFA also offers After-School Tutoring. HFA's math program begins with classes that are tailored to where a student is upon entry at HFA and a special Math Coach assists with learning in all 9th grade math classes. The High School Success (HSS) and Academic Support and Achievement Program (ASAP) both serve to support students who are struggling academically, socially and emotionally. Summer and On-Line Credit Recovery Programs are available for students who need to make up classes. HFA has a full Special Education program for students with identified needs. 

Accelerated Learning Opportunities

Just as students need extra help, they often need additional challenges: HFA offers it Accelerated Curriculum Experience (ACE), which allows students to move ahead more quickly through the curriculum. Also, in the upper grades, students are eligible for Dual Enrollment courses at a local college, Advanced Placement (AP) courses, Honors Courses, and On-line courses or Independent Studies.

What is Design Thinking?

The HFA Curriculum teaches a specific method for creative problem solving and innovative mindsets: this is the Design Thinking process. Students practice the principles of Design Thinking - empathy, define, ideate, prototype, and test - as they complete Design Challenges both in their regular classes and in school-wide challenges.  Challenges include: Designing the City of the Future; The Backpack Challenge; The Study Buddy Challenge; Impacting Your Community; and Designing a New Exhibit at The Henry Ford.  The skills gained in these challenges allow students to not only understand advanced concepts and use 21st century skills, but apply learning to real-life situations and Change Their World!

Learn more about Design Thinking by clicking here

More Resources for Design Thinking:

Henry Ford Learning Institute