Can a 14-year-old be expected to conduct a public presentation similar to a TED talk?
Island Pacific School students have been doing so for over 20 years through a program called Masterworks. Our middle school curriculum recognizes the importance of independent study.
Self-selected, self-directed, and self-presented, this year long Masterworks independent study project is compulsory for every Grade 9 student and marks a significant academic achievement at IPS.
Masterworks projects include big, guiding questions such as, “Flying in Tune: Bridging the Gap Between Computers & Humans” and “Fruit of the Forbidden Tree: Power, Morality and Personal Choice” or “Growing North: Food Security in the Arctic”
The project requires that students produce work that surpasses their previous accomplishments. They conduct in-depth research to write a 20-40 page paper, then communicate their understanding to the general public in an oral presentation that also serves as a defense of their scholarly and creative pursuits.
Students are mentored through the process by expert advisors—leaders in their respective fields—who act as external advisors. Working collaboratively with IPS faculty, advisory committees guide Grade 9s through the Masterworks process that puts students at the centre of their learning and that provides a foundation for academic achievement.
In past years, students have made documentary and animated films, created original works of art, written extensive research papers, written and published a novella, and built an actual boat. These activities and projects reflect the uniqueness and interests of our individual students.
We love the diversity of projects the students come up with and, while each project is unique, what is common among them is that a highly focused level of scholarship, academic inquiry, and creativity underpin original questions asked by our students about the world in which they live. This diversity is reflected in our middle school curriculum.
See the full schedule: https://islandpacific.org/masterworks/
See Masterworks Presentations at: www.youtube.com/user/islandpacificschool