This week, Family Management 11/12 finished off a unit on adolescence and identity by considering the question “What leads to happiness?” Students were asked to choose a topic to focus their inquiry, plan a course of action, create a source of support and information (using existing research and surveys, activities, social experiments), and present their process to the class.
Right off the bat, students narrowed their inquiry to specific focuses such as wealth, positive gestures, activities, and conditions and boundaries one needs in order to be happy. As we progressed through the projects, many found that their best asset was – you guessed it – communication. The more group members talked through kinks and roadblocks in the thought process, the more deeper the inquiry. Along the same lines, conversing with other groups about their experiences with the process was equally as beneficial.
Because of the timing of this project (3 days, 4 x 70 minute periods), we were a bit rushed at the end. With my experiences in inquiry, I realize that the process takes time, especially at the planning stage. However, with the timing of my student teacher taking over the class next week, I decided to go ahead with the short timeline anyways, mostly to see what would happen (why not?). For each day I offered a very general timeline:
Period 1: Planning & Retrieving
Period 2: Retrieving & Processing
Period 3: Processing & Creating
Period 4: Creating & Sharing
Period 5: Sharing Day & Evaluating
Unfortunately, the only time we had to evaluate our projects and the inquiry process was 20 minutes at the end of the sharing day. We debriefed as a class as to how we felt during the entire process and what our thoughts were about the results. Students were given an extensive self and group assessment to take home so they could evaluate their experience with this type of project.
In the end, this class enjoyed this process. The main stipulation addressed was the time factor. Students enjoyed the choice in topic that was open but at the same time kept in line with the question of inquiry. Would they do it again? Definitely, just with more time.
I am excited to see what Ms. Mehta come up with for this class in the coming weeks – next we move on to intimate relationships, dating, and all of that good stuff!