How does a teacher keep their class engaged and interested during a three hour class on the weekend? Well, on a recent Saturday morning, White Mountain students were calculating velocities of projectiles, acting out a dramatic play while speaking French, debating the pros and cons of net neutrality, creating scenes from Things Fall Apart in a graphic novel format, and trying to solve a murder mystery by interrogating their classmates, and fellow “suspects”, in Spanish. On any given Project Block Saturday, you’ll find students engaged in hands-on, collaborative and interactive learning experiences such as these, either on campus or out in the field. Each class meets for one Project Block each semester and the three hour class provides a great opportunity for delving deeply into topics and applying previously learned information to new situations and real-world experiences. The topics may be different, but the focus on student-driven inquiry and engagement is consistent. Three White Mountain teachers recently reflected on the value of Project Block and how they utilize the time to support and advance their students’ academic growth.
‘”As a science teacher, I think project blocks are an extremely valuable part of our academic program. Having a longer time with the students allows us to explore in-depth applications of what we are studying. It also provides time for revisions, multiple trials, devising new approaches if the first one is not the best one, and challenging students to push their understanding of a topic further.” – Renee Blacken, Chair of Sustainability Studies, Science Teacher
“I enjoy project block because it gives us enough time to really utilize our Spanish. It is challenging to try and keep students in the language for that long, but I think it provides a great opportunity for students to truly realize how much they are able to communicate when they really want/need to.” – Leah Boch, World Languages Teacher
“I think that project block is a great opportunity for activities that allow students to make or create something. I think that having a longer block of time to design projects and let students create something is a nice complement to the learning we do week-to-week in the classroom. I like activities that challenge students to dig into a story and reinterpret events using their hands as the conduit for their minds.” -Jacob Northcutt, English Teacher