I’ve talked a lot about the tenets of The ChangeMaker Academy, including:
But what will it actually look like in practice? Our first unit, Life on Mars, illustrates the key features of the program.
One might think that “Life on Mars” is a science unit, but for us, it is the theme and premise of our first unit in physics, math, English, and history. Our primary text is The Martian, a fictional story of an astronaut stranded on Mars. The story may be fictional, but the math and science of the story is accurate. We will learn the physics and math standards by putting them into practice. We are going to recreate a Martian exploration and, in the process, we will:
At the same time, we will develop our reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills by exploring personal narratives and the art of storytelling. In addition to The Martian, we will listen to “The Habitat” podcast and watch scenes from Apollo 13, Hidden Figures and Gravity. We will write our own narratives and create our own podcasts.
Voice and Choice
By “going to Mars,” students are essentially creating a new society, so they will need to establish a government and a constitution. This work requires that students know the answer to this question: What do we value as a society vs what is valuable to society?
We will give them the history of world-wide society, what caused them to rise, fall, and evolve, and students will use their knowledge to establish their own utopia.
Throughout the unit, there will be many opportunities for hands-on learning. Some include:
Opportunities for Authentic Audience
This unit has a subtheme: the importance of communication and community/ the effects of isolation. We will explore this theme by reaching out. We would like to write letters to soldiers and create care packages for refugees. Ultimately, we hope to also share our work with the greater community.