Event kicks off collaboration between school and ZuCot Gallery artists, shows off digital and “unplugged” student work
Centennial Academy, located at 531 Luckie St NW, Atlanta, GA 30313, will host its first two-night scholar exhibit event Oct. 19- 20, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., to showcase what its teachers and scholars have been exploring this semester through project-based learning units with integrated computer science and STEAM. Dubbed iCurate, the event is the first in a series of collaborations between Centennial Academy and ZuCot Gallery.
The school will host iCurate for grades K-3 on Oct. 19 from 5:30- 7:30 p.m. Grades 4-8 will present their iCurate projects on Thursday, Oct. 20, from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Eighteen class projects as well as individual scholar projects will be on exhibit in a gallery-style installation in the school’s main hall, and will include digital and tactile components demonstrating students’ mastery of project-based learning, a method that uses computational thinking and computer science across all educational areas as part of projects that align with the state’s educational standards.
“We’re telling our educators ‘ we want you to be the leaders of your own work,’” said Alison Shelton, Associate Head of School for Academic Affairs at Centennial Academy.
“The first year was a challenge as our core group of educators learned how to teach using computational thinking,” she continued. “Now we just say ‘this is how we teach,’ and it incorporate standards and metrics in another way (than they’re used to). We’re excited to say that 2016-17 will be the first year that all Centennial educators will incorporate this style of teaching and learning into their curricula.”
Project-based learning helps scholars and teachers explore collaboration, critical thinking and problem-solving across all educational subjects using online research, website creation, apps, games, video storytelling and other technologies. Introduced and taught by a core group of trained Centennial educators, the Project-Based Learning (PBL) Core Team, more than two years ago, all educators at Centennial now use this educational approach.
ZuCot Gallery will spearhead development of a permanent Centennial Academy gallery, where components will revolve according to grade and area of exploration and will contain both “plugged” and “unplugged” work. The gallery team has engaged in an ongoing collaboration with Centennial to curate new work, and add work of community artists who will come to the school and collaborate with scholars on larger pieces.
Last year, scholars in the fourth grade explored the history, culture and daily life of Native Americans in their #NotYourMascot project. Classes were offered open-ended questions about how different Native American cultures developed and evolved, what they had in common and the challenges each culture face. These issues were addressed through projects using digital storytelling, research into the differences and commonalities among tribes, and how through history they have addressed essential issues such as tribal government, environment and economies, and sourcing food, clothing and shelter.
Each fourth-grade class developed its own project addressing these issues, and showed the many different, interesting ways scholars approached the same subject.