Ways That Teachers Connect Students to the World

Joe is a 9th grader at Riverside High School and the Loudoun Academy of Science. He runs cross country and loves to admire architecture. As a member of the #bowtieboys, he is devoted to providing teachers with authentic student voices to help improve education nationwide.

Read more from Joe at his website.

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In one of my first blogs, I discussed the importance of making learning connect and impact the real world. Looking back at it, I didn’t cite a good example of this that I have participated in. So I thought for this blog to do just that, and show some of the projects and assignments that in my eyes, connected learning to the real world.

Runoff Project

This was a quarter project in my science class where my teacher asked the class to pick a nearby tributary of the Potomac River, and to design an experiment that tests the effect of runoffs on stream condition. The Runoff project had us assemble into groups and carry out and design our experiment. After collecting data about the various particles in the water, the group had to write a report not only about the results, but how the local geography could have influenced the result.

For example, if there was a giant chicken farm upstream, after a large rainstorm, it would be expected that the level of certain particles would go up. This project had students physically go out into the real world and undergo a measurement that many jobs actually have to perform. The Runoff Project also brought up the big issue of what runoff can do to a river system, which is a very serious problem in many areas, especially those in which industrialized farming is located. The topic was not only thoroughly examined in class, but also in the report.

TOSHIBA Explorivision Project

The Toshiba project was another science project that I participated in. This project asked students to come up with a plan for a future technology in 10-20 years that will innovate the world. However, this is not only a project, but also a competition. This project is completed by thousands of K-12 students each year, so this wasn’t unique to just my science class. The project got students thinking and researching about future technology underdevelopment today.

My group did a project about exoskeletons, which are essentially robotic enhancements that are worn by the human body, like a shell. We had to first brainstorm an idea, research that idea, then compile our research into a concise paper. All of these skills are vital in many workplaces. Also, the research on a future and innovating topic provoked interest in said topic. This link is http://www.exploravision.org/

History Situational Essay

In my final example, I had to write an essay that contemplated a theoretical scenario. The scenario was there was a small farming town that was home to an abandoned World War II airplane factory. There were a group of investors that wanted to repair the old factory and convert it into a museum and expand it, at the expense of the local farmland. My job was to respond to the problem and come up with a compromise. Although this required history knowledge, it also required a good sense of persuasion to convince both sides this compromise was good. The essay also brought up the important question of how we should go about preserving our history and how far we should and will take it.

I hope everyone reading this blog can be inspired to create authentic project that connect learning to the world in meaningful ways, even if i doesn’t directly apply to their certain discipline.

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