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Second Quarter Venture Projects at Compass

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At Compass Community Collaborative School, students immerse in quarter-long interdisciplinary Venture Projects.

Students and staff utilize a human-centered design approach —a process that offers our students a chance to deeply understand the communities we wish to serve, to truly understand what is at the heart of a given problem, to design with those who may face the challenges we attempt to solve, to dream up scores of ideas, and to create innovative, thoughtful solutions that are grounded in our community’s needs. The culmination of the Venture Project is a presentation of learning at our quarterly Exhibition of Learning. With our first quarter wrapping up, teaching staff have offered the following peek at Compass venture projects for the second quarter.

>> Natural Hazards Venture (Grades 6-7)
We will be working towards projects which will be submitted to the Rocky Mountain Environmental Hazards Challenge. The work will focus around potential natural hazard threats to our community, what causes them, who is threatened by them and what we can do about it. We will look at big threats and little threats while learning about some of the science involved with our dynamic Earth. We will have opportunities to travel throughout the community and be engaged with defining what we mean when we say “community”. The goal is to complete a project that will improve the health or safety of your defined community. The contest we are submitting work for is not until spring but the work we do during this project could earn up to $1000 in a cash prize for our school (last year’s group earned $400)! This group will frequently meet at the CSU science lab.

>> Precise Problem-Solvers (Grades 6-8)
This project will explore puzzles and games; what motivates us to play them, and what makes them a good tool for learning. Partnering with a 2nd grade math classroom and a 3rd/4th grade math classroom, we will explore, design, and test our math games and problem-solving puzzles on younger students. This project is designed for 6th-8th grade students who enjoy puzzles and problem solving and have a willingness to learn and be challenged. Students do not need to be “good at math!” Most Wednesdays we will be traveling to O’Dea Elementary school to work with 2nd graders. If you are a student who considers themselves “good at math” be prepared to be challenged to think creatively and uniquely about mathematics and problem-solving.

>> Global Citizenship (Grades 6-8)
This project will focus on developing global citizenship in a local context; we’ll be connecting with schools and students around the world (Italy, the UK, Thailand, etc.) to learn about what it’s like growing up in a different country and continent. We’re also going to look at mapping our connections with the world - from the foods we eat to where our clothes come from. Finally (but not least importantly!) two days a week will be dedicated to Model United Nations!! Those of you in my Social Studies class will already be fairly familiar with this, but it is essentially acting on behalf of a country and debating global issues! NOTE: If you are an UPPER SCHOOL student (9-11) and are interested in this project, please see Shamayim.

>> Intergenerational Experiences (Grades 7-9)
I was inspired to teach this venture after reading Gordon Korman’s latest novel, Restart, about a boy who falls off his roof and forgets everything about his life and who he was. As he works through learning his whole life over again, he meets a mean and bitter old man in a retirement center while doing community service. What he discovers about this man changes both of their lives. This got me thinking about the power of sharing stories. I made the connection to StoryCorps, an organization whose mission is to record, preserve, and share the stories of Americans from all backgrounds and beliefs. One of the activities my venture students will do in November is an event called The Great Thanksgiving Listen, during which teens record interviews with an elder using the StoryCorps app. Finally, I have reached out to our local Senior Center, City Hall, and the Poudre River public library and found many other ways we can create intergenerational connections. Come meet, learn, and grow with local senior citizens: from gardening, playing card or board games, household handiwork, and even event planning in December! What a wonderful way to strengthen community, encourage cultural exchange, and inspire collaboration!

>> Virtual Reality, Real Feelings (Grades 9-11)
Have you ever thought to yourself, “If I could just make them see? If I could just make them understand, they would act?” Have you ever been frustrated trying to explain why someone should care about another’s experience? Studies have shown that if you “walk in someone else’s shoes” in Virtual Reality, you’re much more likely to care, experience real empathy, and act. In this venture, we’ll learn how to create virtual experiences that will make people experience empathy and want to make a difference. We’ll make experiences and mini-games in groups, and exhibit them in partnership with the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery. Each group will need students willing to learn how to do 3D modeling, character design and sculpture, animation, or coding. We’ll make irresistible virtual lands and help people know what it’s like to be immersed in someone else’s world.

>> Diversity & Inclusion Global Impact Challenge (Grades 9-11)
Are you creative and innovative? Do you want to actively help rid of the unjust treatment of people who may be different than you? In this Venture we will take part in the 2019 Global Impact Challenge, which is a diversity and inclusion competition designed to spark the best ideas from students for building a world free of barriers, stereotypes and discrimination. Our Compass Team will ultimately create a project proposal that will include a solution to helping solve an issue of discrimination and exclusivity we see in our community. We will compete with 20 other schools nationwide, and the finalist groups will be awarded prize money (up to $5,000) to launch their ideas in their communities. Students who are aware of and willing to share their own personal barriers you struggles with will be given priority. Please share your barriers as your ‘why’ in your survey.

>> Beyond Baking Soda Volcanoes: Serious Student Science and the Longs Peak Science & Engineering Fair (Grades 9-11)
Learn science lab skills via chemistry, then use Humanity-Centered Design to create your own experiment for the Longs Peak science fair in February, consulting community partners for advice. Can your project qualify for state? Nationals? Internationals? Students can win up to $100,000 in scholarships. This venture will be meeting at the CSU science lab approximately one day each week. Must be able to attend Long’s Peak Science and Engineering Fair on Wednesday February 26 in Greeley. If qualified for state, will need to be available April 2-4 to present at CSU.