Social Contract Meets 2020

The 8th graders are humming like bees in the spring.

Passionate. Excited. Communicating and Collaborating.

Connected between computer, communicating through plexiglass and masks.

They are mastering content, learning transferable skills, and exploring the world. All through the eyes of a historian.

How?

Through the EduScrum framework students have tackled the driving question:

How Should Power Be Distributed in a Stable Society?

Dissecting their celebration criteria through the lens of days in class students chunked their work into stories and tasks. They have taken time to design their Flap and build run up charts.

Students tackled the social contract theory (a concept not usually taught until later in high school or even college) like pros. They are driving discussions about the state of nature, natural law and natural rights. There are open debates about whether John Locke or Jean Jacques Rosseau’s theory of social contract and role of government is more stable.

I could not be prouder to watch new 8th graders (barely out of 7th grade especially considering ending in distance learning last year) take such abstract concepts and run with them.

They are learning in a self – directed manner. Consuming knowledge, interpreting mean and now they are going to apply it to modern life.

Application

Now that there is a concrete understanding of social contract theory the students need to try to apply what they have learned to real life.

One of my many goals this year is to make sure there is real world application of knowledge in all units. For a unit about social contract theory I wanted students to think about how power can be distributed in society.

This is where the magic happens. Instead of all of the students making the same product, forming the same conclusions and producing basically the same output they are free to explore a topic of their choice.

They can tackle creating a brand new society as a whole, or jump head first into a small area of society that they are passionate about.

One group is creating an entire society based on John Locke.

Another on the bleaching of the coral reefs…..

Another exploring the application of a flat tax replace American’s progressive tax…..

Yet another researching the constraints of the 4th amendment on whther the police should use drones to tape police interactions with civilians and stop dangerous high speed chases.

One group is creating an app so the citizens can have more voice in the process of creating a bill on Capital Hill….

Several groups are interested in redesigning K-12 curriculum to include life skills courses. Apparently kids want to know communication, time management skills and how to do taxes…. (SEVERAL GROUPS… What can this tell us as educators??)

They are free to explore a topic that they believe they can connect to social contract theory and how their topics will distribute power in a stable society.

The topics so far are intriguing. The kids are fully engaged. Writing up research cards, creating question walls, arguing over which direction the project should follow. All students both virtually and in class. Working. Collaborating. Learning.

The results will be in soon and we will be able to evaluate the results!

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