At CPSC we keep our community intentionally small and class sizes low. For us, this is an important investment into caring relationships and meaningful hands-on projects.
Our students benefit from smaller class sizes through deep relationships with staff — student interests and passions are known by their teachers and included in instruction to inspire joy for learning. We know that project based learning, outdoor learning and arts integration succeed when students are known and honored by caring teachers and classmates, so we plan for it and encourage it in our classrooms.
Take for example the interdisciplinary project work of mapmaking in Emma’s second grade class and Jen’s 7th grade culinary explorations of the Columbian Exchange.
Last quarter second graders learned how city layouts and sound contribute to culture. After visiting local businesses and using recording devices to capture ambient sounds around the elementary school, they created 3D maps and sound wave drawings, accessible by QR codes. They proudly presented these at a project share, walking caregivers through the process and outcomes of their learning.
Over at the middle school, last quarter the 7th grade Humanities classes made banana muffins as an entry event for their project work. They sought to answer the guiding question: “From the foods that we eat to the air that we breathe, how are our lives impacted by the Columbian Exchange and the discovery of new worlds?”
To unpack this, students created a cookbook of recipes that incorporate foods traded between the new world and the old world. Students also toured the Nasher Museum of Art, studying historical documents and reading the novel “Pride” by Ibi Zoboi as they developed their answers. Across our campuses, teachers and students alike are using project based learning to explore the big questions in the world!