Eighth-graders at an Illinois middle school are learning about the Civil War through self-directed projects that combine social studies and science learning. Students freely move between the classrooms of social studies teacher Adam Gee and science teacher Megan Davis as they work on projects, such as a Civil War adaptation of the Clash of Clans gaming app, developing a movie script, and creating a comic book with abolitionist Harriet Tubman as a superhero.
A Washington, D.C.-based performance group is teaching young students science, technology, engineering and math concepts through the arts. With funding from federal grants, the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts recently sent teacher-artist Jeanne Wall to an Illinois elementary school to lead lessons with kindergartners, and demonstrate for their teachers how to teach abstract concepts through a puppet show.
A resolution drafted by Illinois high-school seniors to advocate for endangered animals has been approved by the state Senate, which designated March 20 as Endangered Species Day. The resolution grew from the school's efforts to raise awareness about endangered species, said Pontiac Township High School civics teacher Kim Burke. Students of Burke and co-teacher Allie Borowiak's civics class recently traveled to the Capitol to observe the Senate pass the resolution. "It was a great experience," Burke said.
Freshman Student Council members at St. Charles East High School in Illinois will record interviews with local veterans on video, which they will submit to the Illinois Veterans History Project. Veterans ranging from World War II to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have agreed to interviews with the students. "This [is] a fine testament to this class and their efforts to honor veterans," said Mike Karson, a social studies teacher and adviser to the students.
The Brookfield Zoo in Illinois offers volunteer opportunities for students with disabilities aimed at helping them gain skills for life after high school. Area high-school students volunteer at the zoo with the help of staff in the zoo's Good Works program and job coaches.