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Linking Skills and Academics With Civic Life

Now that we’ve explored how civic learning and engagement can introduce students to civic life while building school-day and 21st century skills, let’s put it all together with some examples. By revisiting the civic learning and engagement projects highlighted on the page, A Special Kind of Project-Based Learning, we can find concrete instances of how academics and 21st century skills fit into civic learning and engagement.

 

Civic Learning and Engagement Project Academic Skills 21st Century Skills

A group of fourth graders attend a city council meeting to find out why there would be no more funding for the neighborhood swimming pool that they enjoy every summer.

Once they understand the issue of competing needs, the students — joined by members of the local senior citizens’ center — run their own fundraiser to contribute to the reopening of the pool. Together, they present the funds to City Council and ask again for their support.

  • Budgeting
  • Persuasive writing and public speaking
  • Understanding branches of government and the legislative process
  • Producing high-quality products
  • Presentation skills
  • Managing for results
  • Producing high-quality products
  • Creativity
  • Personal, social and civic responsibility

A group of middle schoolers, seeing a problem with trash at local playgrounds, visit members of the recreation department in their town to determine the cause of the problem and find a solution.

As a result of their investigation, they join forces with a local parent group and successfully petition the town to purchase six solar-powered, compacting trash cans — one for each playground.

  • Energy cycles
  • Environmental issues
  • Persuasive writing and speech
  • Collecting data
  • Interactive communication
  • Assuming civic responsibility
  • Interactive communication
  • Collaboration
  • Self-directed curiosity
  • Personal, social and civic responsibility

Students concerned about the issue of climate change conduct research to find out where their community gets its energy. They present their findings to a local chapter of the Sierra Club, whose members agree to help students inform the town council about alternative energy options.

As a result of the joint presentation, the town council is now considering the purchase of a wind turbine. The students commit to monitoring the progress of the purchase.

  • Environmental issues
  • Engineering
  • Research and synthesis of information
  • Persuasive speech
  • Budgeting
  • Presentation skills
  • Collaboration
  • Ability to manage complexity
  • Ability to prioritize
  • Personal, social and civic responsibility

 

High schoolers bothered by the graffiti covering local buildings, including their school, work together with the police department and a group of local artists to create a mural-painting program for the beautification of the community. Today, the murals have become a point of local pride.

  • Understanding local and state history
  • Geometry and proportions
  • Writing to inform
  • Interpreting different genres of text
  • Creativity
  • Planning for results
  • Collaboration
  • Personal, social and civic responsibility

My Notebook

Project-Based Learning

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Glossary

Project-Based Learning