The LED Talks (Language Engineering and Design) are part of an innovative, integrated unit that our Grade 6 team has tackled this year for the first time.
The students’ LED Talks focus on collaborative work done in Language Arts and Science. The students read The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. In this autobiographical story, William Kamkwamba, a boy in Wimbe, Malawi, designs and builds a working windmill to bring electricity and, as a result, water to his isolated farming village to combat drought. Our Grade 6 Science curriculum is tied to the narrative of fictitious island, Mesocosm, which is rich in biodiversity, but also isolated from resources and facing challenges due to coastal erosion. After learning about the problems each place was facing, students chose one of the two locations, considered the variety of problems that their location faced, and designed solutions to address some of those issues. Based on this work, they created TEDTalk style presentations to share their solutions. As you will see, students tackled a variety of issues including energy, education, water, food, erosion, and the economy.
This transformational approach to education is so important to our children’s understanding of the world around them. Rather than learning about each subject in a silo, students need opportunities to see the interconnected nature of our world. As they become problem solvers, entrepreneurs, and change makers, they need a systems based approach that integrates their understanding from a variety of different subject areas. This unit is one example of how we give students the opportunity to understand the complexities around problems in our world. The integrated approach of this unit also had touch points in nearly every discipline studied in Grade 6.
We are already looking forward to our next LED Talks in 2020! If you have any questions or ideas, please contact Head of Middle School, Jen Blum.