As their capstone project, 8th grade students undertake a year-long community project, during which they identify an issue that is important to them and then develop and execute an action project that will make a difference. This year’s projects included:
• discouraging kids from smoking
• sharing an experience of dyslexia and helping to further awareness by joining a walk and a conference
• painting a mural as a beautification project in Trenton
• developing software that can help students learn English with the help of schools in different countries
• helping consumers understand the benefits of organic farming
• working to end gerrymandering in Pennsylvania through building a website for kids about the topic, attending a rally, and writing letters
One of the students, when asked what she learned about her herself during the project, said “I leaned that I can make a difference even if I’m only 14.” The rest of the students agreed. We hope these students will continue to make a difference in their communities throughout their lives!
Community projects are student-centered and they enable students to engage in practical explorations through a cycle of inquiry, action and reflection. They help students to develop the attributes of the IB learner profile, provide students with an essential opportunity to demonstrate “approaches to learning” (ATL) skills developed through the IB Middle Years Program, and foster the development of independent, lifelong learners.