The True Cost of College

For the first Action Project in Economics, GCE Seniors investigated the following guiding question:

How do you determine the value of your college education?

Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

You are a high school senior and you are deciding whether to go to college, enroll in community college, or seek an internship next Fall. You are financing the entire cost of your education to pursue the career of your choice. You have heard that college has never been more expensive to attend. Between 2000 and 2010, the average cost of attending a private, 4-year institution has increased over 35%. However, your parents might think it’s worth it. The US Census Bureau data seems to agree, publishing a study that suggests college grads earn 74% more than those with a just a high school diploma. From your Economics class, you learned that over a lifetime that difference can mean more than a million dollar in forgone income.

Your peers, family, teachers, and school administrators are excited to hear what you decide to do next year and why. In a 60 second video, explain your decision for next year and explanation. Your video is an executive summary. It must be accompanied by an in-depth analysis of your decision-making. Acceptable formats are 2-3 page paper or 5-15 slide power-point presentation.

Click on the eyechart to take a closer look at the featured student works.

National Standards: Project Alignment with Common Core Math & NextGen Standards

CED.A.1 Create equations and inequalities in one variable and use them to solve problems. Include equations arising from linear and quadratic functions, and simple rational and exponential functions.

CED.A.2: Create equations in two or more variables to represent relationships between quantities; graph equations on coordinate axes with labels and scales.

REI.C.6: Solve systems of linear equations exactly and approximately (e.g., with graphs), focusing on pairs of linear equations in two variables.

ID.C.7: Interpret the slope (rate of change) and the intercept (constant term) of a linear model in the context of the data.

The New & Improved Gardener

For the first Action Project in Design & Engineering, GCE Juniors investigated the following guiding question:

How do we make better tools?

Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

Garden projects like GCE’s are sprouting up all over cities around the country, as urban communities begin to realize how successful and rewarding they can be. The problem is, not everyone has the right tools to make their own garden, and not every tool works for every gardener. Senior citizens are a large demographic of gardeners that often gets overlooked, as manufacturers rarely have them in mind when creating tools. Your mission is to take what you learned about physics, force and leverage, as well as the interviews you have conducted, and create better tools that maximize the output based on the energy put in. Based on the users’ needs and wants, create new designs of common gardening tools to better fit their situation. You will then present your best sketch, as well as a storyboard of it being used, and an explanation of its creation and the physics behind it.

Please click on the tools to open the featured student work.

National Standards: Project Alignment with Common Core Math & NextGen Standards

Modeling as a General High School Standard

HS-PS2-3. Apply scientific and engineering ideas to design, evaluate, and refine a device that minimizes the force on a macroscopic object during a collision.

SRT.B.4: Prove theorems about triangles. Theorems include: a line parallel to one side of a triangle divides the other two proportionally, and conversely; the Pythagorean Theorem proved using triangle similarity.

SRT.C.8: Use trigonometric ratios and the Pythagorean Theorem to solve right triangles in applied problems.

CED.A.4: Rearrange formulas to highlight a quantity of interest, using the same reasoning as in solving equations. For example, rearrange Ohm’s law V = IR to highlight resistance R.

Reimagining Creation Stories

For the first Action Project in Stories, GCE Sophomores investigated the following guiding question:

How do you visualize stories of creation?

Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

In collaboration with NASA’s space colonization program, you have been asked to contribute a creation myth for a new anthology titled “Other Worlds” that will promote trans-galactic migration. Your job as a storyteller is to convey the setting of a planet using descriptive language and etiology so that your audience here on Earth will find it an interesting, exciting, and worthwhile place to relocate.

Using your knowledge of global creation myths, and your understanding of key story elements and literary devices, including, setting, metaphor, simile, and sensory imagery, you will create your own creation myth for another world and present this to your peers. Your story and presentation should captivate your audience–be creative, descriptive, and intriguing as you describe your world, and explain the reasons for some of its key environmental features (plants, animals and other organisms, climate, regions, natural resources, etc.).

Click on the different components in the world to read the students’ creation stories.

Project Alignment with Common Core ELA Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3a Engage and orient the reader by setting out a problem, situation, or observation, establishing one or multiple point(s) of view, and introducing a narrator and/or characters; create a smooth progression of experiences or events.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3 Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.7 Analyze the representation of a subject or a key scene in two different artistic mediums, including what is emphasized or absent in each treatment (e.g., Auden’s “Musée des Beaux Arts” and Breughel’s Landscape with the Fall of Icarus).

Voices of the Century

For the Journalism Course, GCE Seniors investigated the guiding question:

What’s the story of a voice, in 3-5 minutes?

Students were faced with the scenario:

WBEZ started an online Museum of Voices that mark the 21st century. The WBEZ producers put out a call for 3-5 minute podcasts that creatively tell how a specific voice of this century is impacting the lives of people. The voices may be of musicians, politicians, radio-personalities, etc, as long as they represent some aspect of the 21st century.

The podcasts focus on the following ideas:

  • a mini-biography of this voice
  • an interview with this voice (if possible)
  • a story of a person or people impacted by this voice
  • Click on the portraits to see the students’ work.

    Alignment with Common Core ELA Standards

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.7
    Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.11-12.1.B
    Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant data and evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both claim(s) and counterclaims in a discipline-appropriate form that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases.

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.11-12.1.D
    Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.11-12.1.E
    Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from or supports the argument presented.

    WHST.11-12.2. Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes.

    1. Introduce a topic and organize complex ideas, concepts, and information so that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
    2. Develop the topic thoroughly by selecting the most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic.
    3. Use varied transitions and sentence structures to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts.
    4. Use precise language, domain-specific vocabulary and techniques such as metaphor, simile, and analogy to manage the complexity of the topic; convey a knowledgeable stance in a style that responds to the discipline and context as well as to the expertise of likely readers.
    5. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation provided (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic).

    On the Spot

    For the Journalism Course, GCE Seniors investigated the guiding question:

    How do you write on the spot, with 500-700 words?

    Students were faced with the scenario:

    The GCE Herald, the student-led school newspaper is running a series of articles that feature news from the different neighborhoods represnted at GCE. Concerned with maintaining authenticty, the editors of the GCE Herald is putting out a call for submissions. They’re asking students to think and act as journalists to write a spot story about an event that took place in your neighborhood. The spot story must be between 500-700 words and must follow the outline of the inverted pyramid of journalism.

    Click on the notes and photos on the jounralist’s desk to see the students’ work.

    Alignment with Common Core ELA Standards

     
    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.11-12.2.A
    Introduce a topic and organize complex ideas, concepts, and information so that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.11-12.2.B
    Develop the topic thoroughly by selecting the most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic.

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.11-12.2.C
    Use varied transitions and sentence structures to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts.

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.11-12.2.E
    Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation provided (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic).

    W.5.5 With guidance and support from adults and peers, focus on a topic and strengthen writing as needed by revising and editing.

    L.6.2a. Use punctuation (commas, parentheses, dashes) to set off nonrestrictive/parenthetical elements.

    L.6.3a. Vary sentence patterns for meaning, reader/listener interest, and style.

    L.7.3a. Choose language that expresses ideas precisely and concisely, recognizing and eliminating wordiness and redundancy.

    L.8.1d. Recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in verb voice and mood.

    WHST.11-12.0. Write routinely over extended time frames (time for reflection and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.

    WHST.11-12.2. Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes.

    a. Introduce a topic and organize complex ideas, concepts, and information so that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension. 

    b. Develop the topic thoroughly by selecting the most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic. 

    c. Use varied transitions and sentence structures to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts. 

    d. Use precise language, domain-specific vocabulary and techniques such as metaphor, simile, and analogy to manage the complexity of the topic; convey a knowledgeable stance in a style that responds to the discipline and context as well as to the expertise of likely readers. 

    e. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation provided (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic).

    Creating Stage Magic

    For the Stage Chemistry Elective Course, GCE students investigated the following guiding question:

    What would my theater look like?

    Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

    The Goodman Theater partners with students throughout Chicago who participate in their Student Subscriber Series. Each school and each student within the school is challenged to create a theater blueprint for hosting a “sponsored adaptation” of A Christmas Carol. In order to create a realistic blueprint of a theater, students take on and blend the multiple roles of set designer, architect, and executive producer. Student blueprints juxtapose their unique ideas with Goodman’s Albert Theater and demonstrate relationships of scale & proportion through visual and narrative explanations.

    Students will create a blueprint of the space to be used as a theater, highlighting the parts that matter most and describing the decision process to create the feel of the theater. The project will be digitally published in magazine form. Comparisons will also be made between the chosen theater and Goodman Theatre itself to show relative size and scale.

    Click on the theater blueprint to the right to see the students’ work.

    Building a Guitar

    For the Light, Sound, & Time class, GCE Juniors investigated the following guiding question:

    Who says you need to buy a guitar?

    Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

    The Landfill Harmonic has just arrived in Chicago for a one-week stay, and they only have two days before their first concert. Unfortunately, their entire string section lost their luggage at O’Hare airport, so instead of being able to visit families and schools and do workshops in Chicago, they are going to be stuck building new instruments – unless you can help. 

    Click on the audio tracks to listen to the students’ diddley-bows.

    National Standards: Project Alignment with Common Core Standards & NextGen Standards:

    HS-PS4-1. Use mathematical representations to support a claim regarding relationships among the frequency, wavelength, and speed of waves traveling in various media.

    WHST.11-12.8 Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the strengths and limitations of each source in terms of the specific task, purpose, and audience; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and overreliance on any one source and following a standard format for citation.

    HSA-SSE.A.1 Interpret expressions that represent a quantity in terms of its context.

    HSA-SSE.B.3 Choose and produce an equivalent form of an expression to reveal and explain properties of the quantity represented by the expression.

    Picturing Yourself

    For the Systems & Models Course, GCE Seniors investigated the following guiding question:

    How do you picture yourself?

    Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

    The purpose of this Action Project is to synthesize all of the information that you’ve learned about yourself through the range of profile activities and create an artistic rendering of yourself. What you create may or may not look like you, or even a human being; and this is acceptable because you will explain your self-rendering through an artist statement that is anchored in the language and understandings gleaned from the individual profiles experienced in U1 Internal Investigation. 

    Click on the sketches in the sketchbook to take a closer look at the students’ self-portraits.

    National Standards: Project Alignment with Common Core Standards:

    Text Types and Purposes:

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.3.B. Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.3.C. Use a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole.

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.3.D. Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters.

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.3.E. Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on what is experienced, observed, or resolved over the course of the narrative.

    Comprehension and Collaboration:

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.1.A. Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas.

    Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.4. Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.5 Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.

    Illinois Learning Standards for Social Science: Psychology Standards

    SS.Psy.3.9-12 Understand a variety of psychological perspectives and apply their concepts and theoretical ideas to the investigation of similarities and differences in behavior and mental processes.

    SS.Psy.4.9-12 Analyze how biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors and their interactions influence individuals’ behavior and mental processes.

    SS.Psy.7.9-12 Apply psychological knowledge to their daily lives.

    SS.Psy.8.9-12 Use appropriate psychological terminology with reference to psychologists, their experiments, and theories in order to explain the possible causes of and impact on behavior and mental processes.

    Video Movie Critiques

    For the Ollywood Elective Course, GCE students investigated the following guiding question:

    How can you critique the elements of film production?

    Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

    “At the Movies was Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert’s movie review television show. Siskel and Ebert reviewed soon-to-be-releasesd movies and were known for their sharp criticism and more famously, for their banter on screen. Their trademark “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” rating and their style of criticism have forever impacted the way that movies are reviewed today. 

    To commemorate the work of Siskel and Ebert, your local television network is featuring local movie critics on their evening news. Applicants must submit an audition tape that shows their knowledge as movie critics and their talent as television stars. For the audition tape, you must critique a movie for elements of pre-production, production, and post-production. In addition to critiquing those elements of the film, you must utilize those elements in the production of the video.   

    Click on the TVs to see the students’ audition tapes.

    National Standards: Project Alignment with Common Core Standards:

    Text Types and Purposes:

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.3.B. Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.3.C. Use a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole.

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.3.D. Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters.

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.3.E. Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on what is experienced, observed, or resolved over the course of the narrative.

    Comprehension and Collaboration:

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.1.A. Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas.

    Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:
    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.4. Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.5 Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.

    Designing a Game

    For the second Action Project in Game Changers, GCE students investigated the following guiding question:

     

    What game will you create?

    Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

    You are a game designer. You have created a game, from concept to packaging. You have gone through rounds of playtesting to make improvements. As a final push for your game, you will create a video to send to investors and game producers. This video will show off your prototype as well as demonstrate how the game is played so they can better make their decision of whether or not to invest.

    Alignment with Common Core Math & English Standards

    Use probability to evaluate outcomes of decisions

    CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSS.MD.B.5 Weigh the possible outcomes of a decision by assigning probabilities to payoff values and finding expected values.

    CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSS.MD.B.5.A Find the expected payoff for a game of chance. For example, find the expected winnings from a state lottery ticket or a game at a fast-food restaurant.

    CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSS.MD.B.5.B Evaluate and compare strategies on the basis of expected values. For example, compare a high-deductible versus a low-deductible automobile insurance policy using various, but reasonable, chances of having a minor or a major accident.

    CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSS.MD.B.6 Use probabilities to make fair decisions (e.g., drawing by lots, using a random number generator).

    CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSS.MD.B.7 Analyze decisions and strategies using probability concepts (e.g., product testing, medical testing, pulling a hockey goalie at the end of a game).

    Understand and evaluate random processes underlying statistical experiments.

    CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSS.IC.A.2 Decide if a specified model is consistent with results from a given data-generating process, e.g., using simulation. For example, a model says a spinning coin falls heads up with probability 0.5. Would a result of 5 tails in a row cause you to question the model?

    Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.5 Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.

    Alignment with National Core Arts Standards

    Conceiving and developing new artistic ideas and work.

    Anchor Standard #1. Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
    Anchor Standard #2. Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
    Anchor Standard #3. Refine and complete artistic work.

    Composing a Hit

    For the second Action Project in Radio-rithmetic, GCE students investigated the following guiding question:

     

    How do you compose a hit?

    Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

    A record company is promoting a mashup contest wherein students from across the country combine elements from existing songs with their own original content to make modern musical collages. Your goal is to take everything you have learned in this course, put it into your own creation, and make it sound good!

    Click on the songs in the playlist to hear the hits the students composed.

    Alignment with Common Core Math & English Standards

    CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSA.SSE.A.1: Interpret expressions that represent a quantity in terms of its context.

    CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSA.SSE.A.1.A: Interpret parts of an expression, such as terms, factors, and coefficients.

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.4: Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.5 Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.

    Alignment with National Core Arts Standards

    Conceiving and developing new artistic ideas and work.

    Anchor Standard #1. Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
    Anchor Standard #2. Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
    Anchor Standard #3. Refine and complete artistic work.

    Performing (dance, music, theatre): Realizing artistic ideas and work through interpretation and presentation. Presenting (visual arts): Interpreting and sharing artistic work. Producing (media arts): Realizing and presenting artistic ideas and work.

    Anchor Standard #4. Analyze, interpret, and select artistic work for presentation.
    Anchor Standard #5. Develop and refine artistic work for presentation.
    Anchor Standard #6. Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work.

    Analyzing a Song

    For the first Action Project in Radio-rithmetic, GCE students investigated the following guiding question:

    Why do you love this beat?

    Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

    You are lucky enough to get an internship combining your personal and professional passions – working for an upstart recording label. You are tasked with finding their next big hit. You have a song in mind, but your bosses are looking for something more objective – they want numerical data proving why they should invest in this song.

    Your job is to make a video of you analyzing the song of your choosing, and “sell it” using the mathematical concepts from the internal and external investigations.

    Click on the different artists in the Fibonacci spiral to take a look at the students’ song analyses.

    Alignment with Common Core Math & English Standards

    CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSA.SSE.A.1: Interpret expressions that represent a quantity in terms of its context.

    CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSA.SSE.A.1.A: Interpret parts of an expression, such as terms, factors, and coefficients.

    CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSA.REI.A.1: Explain each step in solving a simple equation as following from the equality of numbers asserted at the previous step, starting from the assumption that the original equation has a solution. Construct a viable argument to justify a solution method.

    CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSA.REI.D.10: Understand that the graph of an equation in two variables is the set of all its solutions plotted in the coordinate plane, often forming a curve (which could be a line).

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.4: Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.

    CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.5 Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.

    Stage 1- Fine Arts- Music 25A: Students who meet the standard understand the sensory elements, organizational principles, and expressive qualities of the arts.

    From Lake to Potable

    For the second Action Project in H20, GCE Freshman investigated the following guiding question:

    How prepared are you in case of a water crisis?

    Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

    There was a flood in your city, and all water sources have been contaminated. To avoid relocating to a different city until the water treatment plant has been repaired, you decide to build your own water filtration system — which will be used to filter drinking water until safe tap water is reinstated 2-3 weeks from now. Bottled water supplies are running low across the city, so time is of the essence. Using your knowledge of aquifers, pH and groundwater filtration, build a water filter that your family can use until the city is able to ensure tap water is safe to drink.

    Click on the water filters to learn more about the featured student works.

    Alignment with Common Core Math & NextGen Standards

    PS1-1.: Use the periodic table as a model to predict the relative properties of elements based on the patterns of electrons in the outermost energy level of atoms.

    ESS1-6.L Apply scientific reasoning and evidence from ancient Earth materials, meteorites, and other planetary surfaces to construct an account of Earth’s formation and early history.

    ESS3-4. Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.

    CCSS.HSN-RN.A.1.: Explain how the definition of the meaning of rational exponents follows from extending the properties of integer exponents to those values, allowing for a notation for radicals in terms of rational exponents.

    CCSS.HSN-RN.A.2.: Rewrite expressions involving radicals and rational exponents using the properties of exponents.

    CCSS.HSN-Q.A.3.: Choose a level of accuracy appropriate to limitations on measurement when reporting quantities.

    Bring Awareness to Water Usage

    For the first Action Project in Water, GCE Freshmen investigated the following guiding question:

    How can we raise awareness about global water usage?

    Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

    Water for People is a non-profit organization that focuses on improving access to clean water across the globe, and they’re planning an awareness campaign about water usage. Before launching the campaign, Water for People is organizing a poster design contest to generate designs that effectively raise awareness on how much water is used in homes each day, and how it compares to water usage globally.

    The winning poster will be reproduced on a large scale and hung in public places such as on public transit, near public water sources, and in public restrooms. Please see the rubric to understand the content requirements that Water for People is using to select the winning poster design.

    Click on the infographic to take a closer look at the students’ posters.

    Project Alignment with Common Core & NextGen Standards

    FBF5: Understand the inverse relationship between exponents and logarithms and use this relationship to solve problems involving logarithms and exponents

    6NS6c: Find and position integers and other rational numbers on a horizontal or vertical number line diagram; find and position pairs of integers and other rational numbers on a coordinate plane.

    WHST.9-12.2: Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes. (HS-PS2-6)

    RST.9-10.7: Translate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text into visual form (e.g., a table or chart) and translate information expressed visually or mathematically (e.g., in an equation) into words. (HS-PS1-1)

    HS-PS1-3: Plan and conduct an investigation individually and collaboratively to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence, and in the design: decide on types, how much, and accuracy of data needed to produce reliable measurements and consider limitations on the precision of the data (e.g., number of trials, cost, risk, time), and refine the design accordingly.

    HS-PS2-6: Communicate scientific and technical information (e.g. about the process of development and the design and performance of a proposed process or system) in multiple formats (including orally, graphically, textually, and mathematically).

    Speech Writer for a Day

    For the first Action Project in Rhetoric, GCE Juniors investigated the following guiding question:

    How will you apply rhetorical techniques in order to convince others?

    Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

    You’ve been hired as a speech writer for a politician who is running in an upcoming election. With an upcoming debate in the near future, you must prepare your boss to respond to a series of questions on an array of current topics. You want your candidate’s responses to appeal to your base of voters, and persuade undecided voters to support your campaign.

    Review a list of potential questions your candidate will receive during the debate, and select one for which you will craft a 2-minute response, using the rhetorical devices you have learned about in this Unit.

    Click on the speakers at the podium to take a closer look at the students’ speeches.

    Project Alignment with Common Core ELA Standards

    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1a Introduce precise, knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that logically sequences claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.

    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1b Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases.

    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1c Use words, phrases, and clauses as well as varied syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claim(s) and reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between claim(s) and counterclaims.

    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1d Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.

    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1e Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.

    Creation Stories

    For the first Action Project in Stories, GCE Sophomores investigated the following guiding question:

    How do you visualize stories of creation?

    Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

    In collaboration with NASA’s space colonization program, you have been asked to contribute a creation myth for a new anthology titled “Other Worlds” that will promote trans-galactic migration. Your job as storyteller is to convey the setting of a planet using descriptive language and etiology, so that your audience here on Earth will find it an interesting, exciting, and worthwhile place to relocate.

    Using your knowledge of global creation myths, and your understanding of key story elements and literary devices, including, setting, metaphor, simile, and sensory imagery, you will create your own creation myth for another world and present this to your peers. Your story and presentation should captivate your audience–be creative, descriptive, and intriguing as you describe your world, and explain the reasons for some of its key environmental features (plants, animals and other organisms, climate, regions, natural resources, etc.).

    Project Alignment with Common Core ELA Standards

    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3a Engage and orient the reader by setting out a problem, situation, or observation, establishing one or multiple point(s) of view, and introducing a narrator and/or characters; create a smooth progression of experiences or events.

    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3 Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.

    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.7 Analyze the representation of a subject or a key scene in two different artistic mediums, including what is emphasized or absent in each treatment (e.g., Auden’s “Musée des Beaux Arts” and Breughel’s Landscape with the Fall of Icarus).

    The Meaning of Life

    For the first Action Project in Journalism, GCE Seniors investigated the following guiding question:

    What’s the meaning of life… in 1000 words & 1 photo?

    Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

    Right before the Holidays, in December 1988, LIFE Magazine published a special edition called “The Meaning of Life”; the editors asked “scientists and theologians, authors and artists, celebrities and everyday sages on the street” about their views on the meaning of life. They also invited “seven photographers who captured the meaning of life on a single frame of film”. These quotes are from the magazine.

    Now, in a new century, LIFE Magazine decided to recycle the project “The Meaning of Life — in 1000 words & 1 photo”. LIFE invited High School Senior students from all over the world to take on the role of a journalist to interview and photograph someone they believe to have an interesting/important/unique view of the meaning of life. The participants need to submit a single photo, together with a 1000 words-max text. The best submissions will be shared with the world on the LIFE legendary magazine.

    Please click on the photos in the gallery exhibit to open the featured student work.

    Alignment with Common Core ELA Standards

    ON RESEARCH & INTERVIEWING:

    SL.11-12.7. Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self- generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

    SL.11-12.1c. Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that probe reasoning and evidence; ensure a hearing for a full range of positions on a topic or issue; clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions; and promote divergent and creative perspectives.

    ON MULTI-MEDIA (Photo-analysis):

    RH.11-12.7. Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.


    WHST.11-12.0. Write routinely over extended time frames (time for reflection and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.

    WHST.11-12.2. Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes.

    1. Introduce a topic and organize complex ideas, concepts, and information so that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
    2. Develop the topic thoroughly by selecting the most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic.
    3. Use varied transitions and sentence structures to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts.
    4. Use precise language, domain-specific vocabulary and techniques such as metaphor, simile, and analogy to manage the complexity of the topic; convey a knowledgeable stance in a style that responds to the discipline and context as well as to the expertise of likely readers.
    5. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation provided (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic).

    Animal Classification

    For the first Action Project in Population, GCE Sophomores investigated the following guiding question:

    How can you speak the language of scientists who classify?

    Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

    “Your local children’s museum is planning a STEAM exhibit (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) to use art to teach children how we classify organisms in a scientific context. The exhibit will feature collage images with popups or tabs to illustrate each distinction, from kingdom down to species. Some traits will be internal, so the images must be versatile. You will choose an organism from the list given and unleash your inner artist, mathematician, and scientist to collaborate on this project. See the attached example for one of the collages that has already been chosen for the exhibit and consult the rubric for specific requirements the museum has for each entry.

    Click on the animals in the Venn Diagram below to see the students’ work.

    National Standards: Project Alignment with Common Core NextGen Standards

    HS-LS3-2. Make and defend a claim based on evidence that inheritable genetic variations may result from: (1) new genetic combinations through meiosis, (2) viable errors occurring during replication, and/or (3) mutations caused by environmental factors.

    HS-LS4-1. Communicate scientific information that common ancestry and biological evolution are supported by multiple lines of empirical evidence.

    HS-LS4-2. Construct an explanation based on evidence that the process of evolution primarily results from four factors: (1) the potential for a species to increase in number, (2) the heritable genetic variation of individuals in a species due to mutation and sexual reproduction, (3) competition for limited resources, and (4) the proliferation of those organisms that are better able to survive and reproduce in the environment.

    HS-LS4-4. Construct an explanation based on evidence for how natural selection leads to adaptation of populations.

    The Empathetic Gardener

    For the first Action Project in Design & Engineering, GCE Juniors investigated the following guiding question:

    How do we make better tools?

    Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

    Garden projects like GCE’s are sprouting up all over cities around the country, as urban communities begin to realize how successful and rewarding they can be. The problem is, not everyone has the right tools to make their own garden, and not every tool works for every gardener. Senior citizens are a large demographic of gardeners that often gets overlooked, as manufacturers rarely have them in mind when creating tools. Your mission is to take what you learned about physics, force and leverage, as well as the interviews you have conducted, and create better tools that maximize the output based on the energy put in. Based on the users’ needs and wants, create new designs of common gardening tools to better fit their situation. You will then present your best sketch, as well as a storyboard of it being used, and an explanation of its creation and the physics behind it.

    Please click on the tools to open the featured student work.

    National Standards: Project Alignment with Common Core Math & NextGen Standards

    Modeling as a General High School Standard

    HS-PS2-3. Apply scientific and engineering ideas to design, evaluate, and refine a device that minimizes the force on a macroscopic object during a collision.

    SRT.B.4: Prove theorems about triangles. Theorems include: a line parallel to one side of a triangle divides the other two proportionally, and conversely; the Pythagorean Theorem proved using triangle similarity.

    SRT.C.8: Use trigonometric ratios and the Pythagorean Theorem to solve right triangles in applied problems.

    CED.A.4: Rearrange formulas to highlight a quantity of interest, using the same reasoning as in solving equations. For example, rearrange Ohm’s law V = IR to highlight resistance R.

    The True Cost of College

    For the first Action Project in Economics, GCE Seniors investigated the following guiding question:

    How do you determine the value of your college education?

    Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

    You are a high school senior and you are deciding whether to go to college, enroll in community college, or seek an internship next Fall. You are financing the entire cost of your education to pursue the career of your choice. You have heard that college has never been more expensive to attend. Between 2000 and 2010, the average cost of attending a private, 4-year institution has increased over 35%. However, your parents might think it’s worth it. The US Census Bureau data seems to agree, publishing a study that suggests college grads earn 74% more than those with a just a high school diploma. From your Economics class, you learned that over a lifetime that difference can mean more than a million dollar in forgone income.

    Your peers, family, teachers, and school administrators are excited to hear what you decide to do next year and why. In a 60 second video, explain your decision for next year and explanation. Your video is an executive summary. It must be accompanied by an in-depth analysis of your decision-making. Acceptable formats are 2-3 page paper or 5-15 slide power-point presentation.

    Click on the different career cards to take a closer look at the featured student works.

    National Standards: Project Alignment with Common Core Math & NextGen Standards

    CED.A.1 Create equations and inequalities in one variable and use them to solve problems. Include equations arising from linear and quadratic functions, and simple rational and exponential functions.

    CED.A.2: Create equations in two or more variables to represent relationships between quantities; graph equations on coordinate axes with labels and scales.

    REI.C.6: Solve systems of linear equations exactly and approximately (e.g., with graphs), focusing on pairs of linear equations in two variables.

    ID.C.7: Interpret the slope (rate of change) and the intercept (constant term) of a linear model in the context of the data.