Chambers 20 Time Passion Project - Day 2

We've talked a lot about urbanization and industrialization. This student has found an online, 3D city builder. She's planning on building an ideal city then using Screencast-o-matic to create a video explaining  her decisions!
 If you are curious about what a 20 Time Passion Project is, read my introduction here. It has a bunch of links to tell you all about this whole "20 Time" idea and how it is taking off in the educational world.

If you don't want to read the whole thing, here are the basics:
  • Kids can do ANYTHING they want as long as it satisfies 3 essential questions that tie what their doing into our class goals. Kids are encouraged to build and create rather than complete.
  • Kids have to find an adult to mentor other than the teacher who will help them during their project.
  • The projects will last almost 3 months and culminate in a public presentation day.
  • I pledge to give approximately 20% of class time to this project for the rest of the year. 
  • I'm doing a project with the kids - this blog. I am going to blog about the kids work on this blog each day. That's an extra 12-13 blog posts for me!
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Day 2 - Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

Kids are continuing to come up with really great ideas. I am giving the kids 5 straight days to work on their projects at the start here. The idea is to give enough consecutive days for each student to fully develop a project topic, idea and plan of action. I also want to give plenty of time for the kids to reach out to their mentors. To give some examples, I have kids who are reaching out to:
  • Sly James - Mayor of Kansas City
  • Robert Kenner - Director of Food, Inc.
  • A civil engineer at a local firm, SEGA
  • A visual artist who is apparently pretty big in the online scene...I can't remember the name right now and I misspelled it in my notebook!
  • I have a student looking to connect with a neurologist to do a project on the brain and learning. Anyone out there want to help with that one?
Two students collaborating on their project. They are going
to be conducting a series of interviews with people of have
taken the Islamic Hajj to Mecca.

The part about all of this that I'm enjoying most is seeing kids react when I do something unexpected. Here's an example. I have a student who wants to study art and culture. We were brainstorming and without much surprise came up with the Nelson Atkins. In the middle of class, I took out my cell phone and called my grandma. She lives in Santa Fe now, but she used to be a member at the Nelson Atkins and I thought she might know someone. She did, gave me a number, and we'll see where that goes!

The world is about making connections! That's what this project emphasizes, especially with its requirement to get an adult adviser to help. I love history as much as the next history teacher nerd out there, but learning how to make a phone call to a stranger and ask for advice is a more important skill than anything I'll teach kids about history! If I can instill this skill in kids while still having the kids learn about history, then it's a win-win situation.

Brainstorming looks for a campaign to stop wars.