Responding to the driving question, “How might the 4th industrial revolution solve the problems caused by the first three?”, students in Upper School history teacher Molly Smith ‘82’s project/inquiry-based Modern World class created a model city to address the problems caused by the previous Industrial Revolutions and to prepare for the fourth Industrial Revolution, which will leverage emerging technologies, like artificial intelligence, to fundamentally change the way we work and live.
Gathered around the 3-D map of their town in the Upper School MakerSpace, the students took turns describing some of the interesting features, such as green roofs, a vertical farm, solar panels on all buildings and a Virtual Reality Center, which the facility’s designer (who could not be there because he was competing in the Olympiada) created to serve a range of needs, from job training to rehabilitation for veteran soldiers, as well as for entertainment.
Because it is a project-based learning (PBL) class, Smith does not create detailed assignments for students to complete. Rather, she uses questions such as the one above, to drive student-learning through collaborative problem-solving. Students took the question, did the research and chose to illustrate their learning by creating a model town. Smith has been impressed with the creative ways her students have demonstrated their learning. “While I am there to push their thinking with questions and help them get unstuck, I am always amazed at what they come up with when I get out of their way,” she said, noting that the other section she teaches "took a totally different approach -- three board games, one slide presentation, and one Shark Tank like experience. It's funny how they went in totally different directions!"