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Think Tank Challenge: A Model for Student Led Curriculum Design

Session 3
Robert Gulya, Amalu Jenkins, Karen Patwa, Arian Nakhaie, Priscilla Inoa, Gaylene Alexis, Crystal Montalvo — South Bronx Community Charter High School

Our staff designed an interdisciplinary challenge to launch the school year where students took the lead on designing the curriculum. Similar to the exhilaration and anxiety that comes with giving a teenager the keys to the family car for the first time, we gave our students the opportunity to drive the curriculum development process, through the Think Tank Challenge.

The Think Tank Challenge

Using your creativity, cultural expertise, and problem-solving skills, you will design and showcase an innovative way of learning 10th grade material through your own academic tasks and challenges. You will present your challenge to a panel made up of SBC students, celebrities/field experts, SBC staff, and community members. The audience and panel will rate the challenge proposals on a set of criteria and the proposal with the highest average rating will become an integral part of the 10th grade curriculum. The chosen Challenge-Makers will win an all expense paid trip to Philadelphia’s Educon!

SBC Challenge-Makers will share their challenge pitch with attendees and discuss how this project empowered them as agents of their own learning.

SBC staff will share how this challenge was used as an opportunity to build relationships with students, learn their interests connected to the curriculum, and quickly gain perspective on their learning styles.

Conversational Practice

Session facilitators will include both students and staff from SBC. The facilitators will present the student products and the process the staff used to design the learning experience. The facilitators will then sit on a panel and take questions from the session attendees about the project. All attendees will receive access to the teacher designed curriculum as well as the student products. Session attendees will participate in a gallery walk to view student projects and ask questions directly to students about their experience and insights.

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