“Mount Vernon calls on us to be engaged citizens and to think deeply about the world around us. There is no better way to do this than through teaching the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Grade 8 decided to create a transdisciplinary experience that allowed teachers and students to lean into their passions and curiosities through the lens of specific goals. Grade 8 Humanities also focuses on global citizenship and participation making this PBL opportunity a perfect fit,” explains Kristen Pisacreta, Grade 8 Humanities teacher and Middle School Learning Architect.
The project-based learning unit (PBL) kicked off last week and started with this driving question:
Students will select a global issue they are enthusiastic about, conduct research, devise solutions, and create prototypes. The unit will culminate in a showcase event on May 17 where parents, teachers, and peers can explore their innovative approaches and solutions.
Head of School, Kristy Lundstrom, helped introduce the unit, by sharing the inspiring story of Uncharted co-founder, Jessica Matthews. Jessica saw a lack of reliable electricity in developing worlds, and after visiting Nigeria, she brainstormed a way to marry her passion and knowledge of soccer with electricity, creating Soccket, an energy-generating soccer ball that turns into a lamp or a charging station.
This unit will take the design thinking skills of Grade 8 students have developed in Impact Design Lab (IDL) to a new level. Up to this point, students worked closely with teachers and mentors learning the steps of design thinking, and were able to start with questions and learn in a close-knit group, resulting in a strong understanding of the process. Throughout the remainder of the year, through this Global Awareness Unit, students will apply their design thinking skills across all subjects including Math, World Language, History, Science, and more giving them the resources to design their public product To help students along this 9-week journey, you might see them carrying their Global Awareness workbooks as they jot down questions, ideas, and solutions. (Shout out to Grade 8 student Ansley LaCoste for designing the cover art)
Curious to see the innovations and impacts Grade 8 will design? Mark your calendars and plan to attend The Grade 8 Global Awareness Symposium on May 17 in the Middle School building. Students will showcase their products and process to parents, MVXperts, and teachers. Stay tuned for more information as the date approaches.