A few themes ran through our projects this fall: one of them is civic engagement—in the season of national challenge and heated elections, many classes looked at how we live, contribute, and engage the world around us for good. What does it mean to be a citizen? What does it mean to be an adult? What is something as basic as food good for? What can good can data do? What makes us American? The answers all involve one unavoidable truth—we’re in this together. Explore the answers our students pursued:
90% of the world’s data has been collected in the past two years! How can we discern, collect, and analyze information and use it for appropriate means? How can we tell a true story with data? This course sought to answer that question and was dedicated to creating data literate individuals that can read, understand, and apply data to their lives in order to better themselves and their community with regards to the COVID19 pandemic, the environment, or our health.
Desire and Reason
High school seniors are on the cusp of adulthood, but what does that even mean? The driving question of this English class is “What is a flourishing adult and how can I become one?” After reading and writing about various works, ranging from Pinocchio to portions of Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit, students wrote a personal Rule of Life and documented their attempt to live by it for two weeks. The resulting documentaries–short film, podcast episode, or written essay–tell the stories of the experience.
Students designed their project by being randomly assigned an occupation with an average income based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Students were to incorporate the personal finance concepts they learned and create an extensive budget/spending plan to outline how they would manage their finances. Some of the areas of their budget include tithing, housing, savings, transportation, and food. Students’ projects also include how they will build their credit and what steps they will do to make it possible.
The Good Life
What is the good life and how can I participate in it? We will asked this driving question as we focused our study on the last 3,000 years of Western Civilization. Students created board games that involve themes, stories, and essential understandings from the material covered in the course. Students’ games creatively apply what they learned and to express what we owe to our past.
Power and the People
Does power truly lie in the hands of the people? Our Civics elective students put on their investigative journalist hats to take you deep into the American election system, following the candidates and races that will help determine what our government in Austin and Texas will look like in the year to come. Undecided voters and party die-hards alike, learn more here!
Subjects and Citizens
For this class, students applied their learning about what it means to be an active citizen to create a resource for voters. As part of their research, each student found an expert to interview about their area of interest. College professors, politicians, & nonprofit staff all agreed to interviews and provided valuable insight. Projects were finished before or during the early voting period, which gave students time to distribute and advertise their resources for the use of voters in the current election.
The Soul of Food
What can we learn about spirituality looking through the lense of food?
People don’t survive on water and food only, but they survive on God’s word. Profound mysteries of our hearts are unlocked through simple matters, like food and drink. Students prepared three meals to serve: families, friends, and neighbors. They entered into the rich mysteries of hospitality, the craft and skill of expert food preparation, and essential spiritual practices for cultivating a healthy soul and body.
This term, we asked the question, “what does it mean to be an American?” Throughout the history of our country, our national identity has hinged on shared values and understandings, even as it has been threatened by tensions and disagreements. The projects below tackle that question from a variety of perspectives and touchpoints throughout American history and show us that fighting for freedom, however we define it, is an enduring part of the American experience.