A PBL Pathway to 21st Century Deeper Learning Schools

Cooler City

Cooler City: A Meliora21 Project

Charlene Doland

Overview. In this semester-long interdisciplinary project, 10th-12th grade students design, develop, and assess a standards-aligned investigation into an authentic local community problem. Using the framework of the Illinois “Cool Cities” initiative (http://illinoiscoolcities.org/cities/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/agreement_combined.pdf), students conduct an integrated investigation which incorporates the following topics: energy resources and consumption, data analysis and forecasting, community, and economics Using authentic research methods, students analyze Naperville’s (Illinois) current “coolness,” create proposals for the City Council, apply for grants, and produce a public awareness campaign.

Students begin this project by researching and analyzing Naperville’s (Illinois) current level of “coolness.” “Coolness” refers to the level of environmental responsibility communities are engaged in relative to their energy sources and programs. The students analyze data related to the current state of affairs, then choose a small number of target areas for improvement. For those areas, they create a proposal to the city and present it at a City Council meeting. Additionally, they research and apply for available grants for improvement areas. Finally, they produce a public-awareness campaign in some form (website, brochure, public presentation, Facebook page, etc.)

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