This is a guest posting by Lisa Ross, a third grade teacher at Edison Elementary in Appleton, Wisconsin. A year after we tested the City X Project in her classroom, Lisa was kind enough to reflect on her experience with the Project.
Focus on the standards.
Attention to curriculum minutes.
Approval by the District.
There were plenty of reasons not to pursue participation in the City X Project. On the other hand, I reasoned, “This is just the kind of learning that fires up creative thinking, hands on experiences, and incorporates technology.” It’s already aligned with the Core Curriculum State Standards, you say? It’s set in City X, a society that mirrors a broad global setting for exposure to design, literacy, and problem solving? It provides my students access to cool technology like 3D printers and current design software? Decision made. This is an educational program that is definitely worth pursuing!
I never looked back after the first day of seeing the program and facilitators in action! My third graders were completely engaged as they wrestled with various situations in City X (All of which mirrored “real life “concerns that we Earthlings face, in the context of a story built on the concepts of empathy.) I was delighted when the City X scenario development dovetailed nicely with our current ELA studies of “People of Purpose.” The students were connecting their reading about creative, innovative people to discovering themselves as creative people of change, in the context of their solving the social issues in City X. The room was abuzz with the excitement and potential of their ideas! The City X Project gave them a glimpse of the possibilities that their ideas, combined with current technology (such as the 3D printer brought into our classroom) could offer.
My students will not soon forget the big ideas that they considered in the context of City X. I applaud the vision of this program and encourage you to set aside your own list of roadblocks and do what it takes to make the City X Project a memorable part of your students’ educational experiences.