© 2020 by Ray Cheng. Proudly created with Wix.com

  • Instagram

Small Learning community

Small Learning Community is an honors program provided at my school. SLC, also known as the school-within-school which is run by a small proportion of students and teachers that forms an autonomous community.
 

The community merges four of my major courses: Biology, Geometry, English, and World History. The entire program follows a project-based grading system to ensure our full understanding of a topic's context. In addition to regular lectures, we have to deliver the concepts in learning out into the real world and demonstrate how the lecture transforms our daily lives, establishing its significance. As such, instead of the summative tests that regular classes take, we would get course standards and rubrics each quarter for planning our projects.

 

The project-based philosophy provides a personalized learning environment; the program never confines a student's creativity while fostering innovation. Teachers never inform us specifically what topics our projects should be about, we determine the project materials ourselves, ranging from a lecture's topic to something that we're simply enthusiastic about.
 

Something challenging in SLC is making these projects interdisciplinary, attempting to merge all our knowledge from the four courses into one project, making the courses to speak and work together.

 

As an example, I and my classmate designed and constructed a chair made out of cardboard. We did loads of research, analyzed climate issues, and found cardboard as one of the most suitable and sustainable materials for a chair. Researching on climate issues has been my passion and adaptions in our daily lives matter. The project incorporates all standards from all four courses. We researched a human's natural sitting posture and estimated the best angle for a cardboard chair, which can be quite stiff. Sitting positions are significant for a person's health and concentration; we've designed multiple models on SketchUp and paper drawings to ensure precision, adopted ancient construction and measuring tools such as straight edges and compasses. (The Ancient Egyptians used those for the precise measurements and modeling for the Pyramids!)
 

This educational model inspired our teachers and students ourselves. We strive to seek an ideal teaching system that's suitable, productive, enjoyable and useful for scholars to thrive in the larger community. I'm currently participating in the Youth-led Participatory Action Research Program. 

A digital model of our cardboard chair, well designed and constructed.

Me with my classmate (Ibrahim) working on the measurements of the cardboard chair.