In 2017-18, the TCS sixth graders and first-ever TCS seventh graders will explore the issues and challenges of their community and world through three immersive and engaging project-based units in which the world around them becomes the classroom.
“Think about it,” said sixth grader Jeffrey Hallett. “Would you rather learn about something sitting down from a book or lecture, or would you rather learn about it by going there and seeing it first hand?”
In the immersive project-based learning model, the opportunity to explore global, political and social issues is not a special project in a subject-specific class, but instead it becomes the core of the curriculum itself.
“Especially for middle school-aged students, learning this way inspires them to engage deeply with content compared to the separated, 50-minute class block,” said Allen Broyles, TCS assistant head of school. “For the 2017-18 school year, our project-based units will not only impart to our students the content and skills set forth by national standards, but will take their learning much further, into a more complete understanding of the world and how we can all make an impact with entrepreneurial thinking.”
The three project-based units include:
- Technology, Equity and Access: Classes will examine engineering, mechanics, programming and coding, while also studying issues of access to technology locally and around the world. Students will go to “infinity and beyond,” with a fall trip to Space and Robotics Camp in Huntsville.
- What Nourishes Me: Students will take a closer look at the politics of global water and food systems. Weather systems, the science of food consumption and production, climate-change and exposure to entrepreneurial thinking around social issues will be explored.
- Peace in Conflict: Students will learn how humans create peace out of conflict. While playing The World Peace Game, developed by John Hunter, students will deepen their understanding of how conflict affects the movement of goods, services and people. TCS’s partnership with the Atlanta chapter of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) will continue to grow as our sixth and seventh graders create a promotional video and materials designed to grab the attention of their peers and encourage youth to become engaged with the IRC.
Each project-based unit culminates in a public-facing capstone in which students synthesize their learning experiences and demonstrate their understanding of the unit’s relevance to them and to the greater community.
Earlier this month, the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) recognized TCS as one of only three innovative schools. Calling the key to our success “the courage to innovate,” the article specifically called out our new sixth/seventh grade curriculum as a prime example of our “community of innovation.”
As we continue to march toward the 2017-18 school year, we’ll share more details of these project-based units and the amazing opportunities our children will have to learn and grow by exploring traditional school subjects in the most innovative ways, through the lens of life itself.