15, Demonstrates her project showing elements of ancient Incan society that have been carried forward into life in Eastern Iowa to Renee Levi on Monday, Oct. 16, 2011, in Prairie High School’s study hall areas during the Global Generation Exhibition Night.
CEDAR RAPIDS High school student projects typically have a limited audience; usually just the teacher and the student.
Prairie High Schools Global Generation program wants to change that.
The 100-student school within a school for 10th graders had its first Exhibition Night on Monday, Oct. 17, 2011. Students demonstrated the projects they worked on during the first part of the school year to parents and other members of the community while dressed in their finest.
The Global Generation program, which is in its first year, uses a curriculum model called project-based learning where the students spend most of their time working on projects with other students as opposed to traditional classroom activities such as lectures. The Prairie version is based on a similar one in the Muscatine school district and also takes inspiration from the High Tech High charter schools in San Diego, Calif.
The exhibition night is a huge component of the program, as students need to show the community the projects theyve been working on, said English teacher Nathan Pruett. Whether their projects are good or bad, they have to stand behind them in a public setting.
Many of them are presenting their academic work to adults for the first time, he said.
The projects themselves covered all of the different subject areas students are studying, but each has an added real world component.
Hannah Kapler, 16, took a picture of a cupboard in her familys house and traced the different shapes as part of her geometry project. She said the project helped her learn the different vocabulary associated with the subject.
Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, was the subject of Andrew Nabers history project. The 15-year-old interviewed a chemist as part of the project to get to know Nobels impact on the occupation.
Marquan Wilder, 16, studied ancient Greece and needed to find area landmarks that were heavily influenced by the Greeks, such as the Paramount Theatre and the Linn County Courthouse.
All three students said they were really enjoying their experience in the Global Generation program, also called G Squared.
In normal classes, we get lectures, but in G Squared, they just let you do it, said Wilder.
Im very nervous, but so far its been a lot of fun, said Naber. Ive been working with a lots of new people and making new friends.
Many of the parents in attendance were excited to see their students getting experience making a presentation in a public setting experience that may come in handy later on when they need to interview for a job.
Whats really intriguing to me is that they are being held accountable for their work, said parent Julie Willard. Theyre really coming out of their shell.