A learning community focused on transforming Schools in Hawaii
SAS and SJV teachers conducted a protocol session which addressed a facet of Challenge Based Learning presented by the middle school science teacher at SAS. Marcia asked for input in finding new topics that can be developed into units for science that will serve a genuine purpose in the wider community. It is difficult to find topics that involve real world community issues with science content that can be presented, addressed, and concluded within several months of an academic year. Students must be fairly independent in structuring their time and delegating work to team members while working toward a goal that will be reviewed by professionals and potentially used to address a topic of concern in the community. Students may choose to create a model, present a Powerpoint, create a movie, or use some other agreed upon "product" that represents their ideas and the work they have put into the project.
Our group recommended contacting outreach organizations such as those affiliated with the parish and community groups with a history of using volunteer work to address community issues. Another suggestion was to have students think of their own topics of interest at the end of a school year so that the groundwork could be laid over the summer and adult contacts could be found who would be willing to work with students on self-selected topics. A final recommendation was to get students to participate in community board meetings where they would be presenting their ideas to an "authentic" audience as validation for their efforts in a real world setting.