Grand Rapids Public Museum Middle School
In the middle school students are immersed in theme based project cycles. These project cycles combine English and social studies concepts (Meanings) and science and math concepts (Patterns) into a 9 week project that pulls knowledge from each core area. During these projects students work collaboratively using the design thinking process to solve real world problems with the help of or for community partners. Learners are then empowered to share their learning and process with others.
Learners at the Middle School have the unique opportunity to access the programs and exhibits within the Museum. This allows students to have a close up view of the history or science that they are learning in a hands on way. When our students are learning about geography they are able to see items from the various places they are studying not just see the name on a map. When students are researching innovation, they are able to access artifacts from the archive that give them a full view of how an item evolved into what they know today. When they are exploring photosythesis they are working with thought leaders in the community to design systems to grow plants in urban environments, in space or without traditional methods.
The project based model allows students to transfer their skills and learning to new situations in ways that are authentic, connected to people they personally know in the community or items they have experienced first hand.