Thursday, June 7, 2018

Capstone Project for SS11

In this course, we have explored the question “How should we live?” and unit topics related to:
  • global population and development
  • economy and environment
  • experience of place
  • big ideas in philosophy
  • local history and geography
Now, you will turn your attention to a way of bringing these topics together, a “capstone project” to show how you have built understanding during this course. This is a replacement for a final exam.

You can choose one of the options below, or you can design your own capstone project. You will have some class time for this (June 6-8, June 11-14), but library or lab time may be intermittent -- they are booked up solid but we can squeeze in a few at a time. Friday June 15th will be a chance to play games or share activities with the whole class. Monday June 18th will be a gallery walk -- all the rest of the students/groups will set up in the class to show what you have done.

You can work alone or in a group. Obviously, if you work with with a group then each person should have a distinct role and the overall project should a) be able to go forward if someone in the group drops the ball, and b) show how it is more than the work of one person.

In order to create a memorable and substantive project, you will need to manage your time well. Each day you have time for this, you need to be focused on a task that brings you closer to completion. Your project should be a balance of: 
  • your ideas: think, reflect, decide on what ideas you will include -- make predictions, ask questions.
  • research and information: use class notes, books, websites, people, and/or direct observations
  • creating: make or build something that holds your ideas and research in place
The project should introduce elements, skills, or themes from the course. Try to build in concepts from each of our units -- either from your own work or what you learned from others. You can start this off by asking one or more questions like this:
  • What kind of development is necessary to meet the needs of all people without exhausting all of the resources?
  • How can economic activities be set up so that community and environmental health is maintained or improved?
  • What kinds of patterns, values, or systems exists in a community that promote happiness, inclusion, prosperity, health, or other things you find important? 
  • What kinds of personal, social, or political philosophies are most useful for encouraging people to live in harmony with each other and the planet?
  • What lessons can we learn from our local region, both positive and negative, about sustainability and adaptation to the environment
  • How can we achieve sustainable development, so that a planet of 11 billion people can live outside of poverty but within the means of their environment
Option A. Design a Sustainable Town or City

What services does a city need to provide?  How should a city use the land it occupies (site), and how should the city interact with the area around it (situation)? Using large paper or any other kind of media (digital, materials) put together a design for a modern healthy city that makes good use of local resources and energy sources, provides a good quality of life for its residents (including economic opportunity), and has a balance with the environment. Your project will more or less be a map.

Have you ever played a resource-based board game like Settlers of Katan (there is a copy in the class if you want to have a look), or perhaps a city-building game online?  Maybe you've built places using minecraft or lego, or looked over a city map to sort out where things are. If so, you have an idea about what kinds of things a city might need in order to thrive: transportation systems (multiple forms) power supply, sewage and water, greenspace and parks, industrial areas (heavy and light), business district, residential areas (different kinds), entertainment and recreation facilities for a variety of users, safety infrastructure (fire/police/paramedical), hospitals, schools, and so on. You can build up (high rises) or our (take up more space), but every choice will have its limits -- you may have notices this from games about cities -- they usually provide limits on resources to provide challenge for the game players. For example, there is a limit to water, timber, minerals in the area, or limits to how many people can live in an area before infrastructure needs to be upgraded.

What kinds of philosophies will guide your city?  How many people will it support?  Is it by the ocean or does it have a river?  Are there mountains nearby, or farm lands, forests, rangelands, mineral deposits?  Are there specific ways that many people there make a living?  How is it powered? Does it provide services for youth? For Elderly?  For homeless and street-involved people?  How will you deal with fire protection, crime, and poverty?

However you design your city, the key or "legend" will be important -- try to include the why and how on your map or construction as far as possible rather than separate paper.  Use labels, text boxes, notes on the map itself, and a good key. Make it very clear on the map how you have designed the city for sustainability.

Option B Notes: Create a choice-based Survival Game

Read the notes above for Option A -- this will help start your thinking.  How could you design a game that builds in choices about resource use, lifestyle decisions that impact the environment, choices about jobs, transportation, entertainment & recreation, and consumption of goods?  This could be a board game, computer game, card game, dice-based game, or something else from your creative mind.  Try to build in concepts from each of our units -- either from your own work or what you learned from others.

Option C. Something different

Perhaps you’d like to write a song or a play, make a video, or build something.  Check in with the teacher if you'd like to do something other than Option A or B.  Like the other two options, Option C should reflect concepts from each of the course units, and should address the question "How should we live?"

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