One of our social studies projects this year was featured on the Sidwell Friends School website. The Mapping With Heart project came about through the diverse interests of our team. Lauren did a Mapping By Heart project in middle school and brought that curriculum to the 6th grade. Every spring, students studied the world maps they had created and explored throughout the year. They memorized lines of latitude and longitude and made up tricks to be able to place countries, cities, and geographical features by heart. New members of the team interpreted this assignment as a way to let students explore statistics and layer a statistical story about an issue they cared about on top of the physical space. This became the Mapping With Heart project. Last year I gave my students a choice to do their maps By heart or With heart. About half chose each. The interpretations were fantastic and individual. Students had to choose their projection and justify their choice. We talked about how different projections shape our understanding of the world.
This year all students did the Mapping With Heart exercise. I do believe it is extremely useful to have students analyze data relating to a question they have and apply it to something they are creating by hand. This project is very labor intensive. It requires attention to detail. It is a long term project that needs to be approached in an organized and methodical way. It is hard. The resulting product is something that students take pride in.
Progressive education values this type of project that is based on meaningful, student driven content and a deep, elongated, and creative process. It was great to see it featured on our website as an example of the kind of global education offered by my team.