Here we are!
After launching off into our first EduScrum sprint we have finally reached the end. It is time to see the results of all of the hard work.
Students began this project in September striving to answer the questions:
How Should Power Be Distributed in a Stable Society?
The history element of this project was learning about social contract theory. They studied Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau. We discussed the evolution of a state and whether government was necessary. Argued about the state of nature and the pros and cons of private property.
This class was incredible in their ability to wade through content as thick and abstract as the social contract theory and immediately digest it. They pushed through with tenacity that I have not seen in years.
Action and Application
Application of knowledge is always the critical part. Memorizing facts to take a test is not enough if they cannot take the knowledge they have learned and apply it to another situation.
In this case teams of four were asked to tackle an issue they were passionate in, explain how it aided in the distribution of power and explore the connection to social contract theory.
Honestly, I was nervous about this. It’s a huge task for 8th graders, at the beginning of the year, working through a new learning framework. I worried that I had set the bar to high or tasked students with an impossible task.
As usual the kids explored, created and designed. They researched issues they were passionate about and emerged with incredibly interesting and personal projects.
Here are some of the results:
Advocate – An App to Give Citizens a Voice in the Legislative Process.
This group wanted to give people more power in Congress. They worked through several ideas to get people more involved in what bills are being passed. After several iterations the students prototyped an app that would allow them to directly voice in opinion on bills as they passed through committees.
Research: How a bill become a law, What do legislative committees do? Creation of an app.
Sol – South Florida based Merchandise to Provide Better Homeless Shelters
This group wanted to ambitiously attack the problem of homelessness. After doing some basic research they discovered that this problem is much larger than four 8th graders could tackle.
Not wanting to give up they decided to tackle the issue from a smaller scale.
Concentrating on Broward county they researched the main issues the homeless population was facing and then created a way to consistently raise funds to support their project.
Concept: Sol – Merchandise sold in the beach shops of Ft. Lauderdale whose profits will be used to update homeless shelters and provide medical and mental health assistance.
Research: Homelessness nationwide and locally, Mental Health issues, Fundraising, Merchandise Design, Marketing
Several groups tackled education reform. One group chose to research school budgets, distribution of funds and created a strategy to maximize the power of each dollar.
Two separate groups choice to add a graduation requirement for students to take a “Life Skills” class during middle and high school that would teach taxes, soft skills, cooking, sewing, basic home repairs and other skills that they feel are necessary but lacking from the current education system.
This group decided that students should not have to learn about everything, but pick specializations to explore while in high school. They explained that they wanted to know skills and content that they would apply during their life and not spend as much time learning general content.
They broke their system down into 5 tracks Engineering, Medical, History, Literature and Fine Arts. Their argument was that students will be more engaged when they truly get to chose their classes and follow their passion. They investagated the cost, effect on mental health and even had their roll out plan with step by step actionable steps to put their program in place.
Concept: Education Reform in High School
Research: Education systems, Budgeting, Fund Raising, Content areas that were useful in the job market, Design
Needless to say, I am extremely impressed with these students. They really buckled down, brainstormed new ideas, researched them and created new solutions.
They expressed that they enjoyed being able to research issues that were important to them and helped them gain knowledge of the real world.
I am so excited that we were able to launch the year in such a spectacular way. I cannot wait to see what will come next!