This is a group of sharp, motivated students with an interest in civic engagement projects. Students debate on contemporary issues and consider them in historical, economic and political contexts. The program works in collaboration with the Upper School civic engagement program.
The Middle School Green Team’s goal is to increase the school’s level of sustainability each year. Students document their family’s conservation actions and goals; they transition their efforts from home to the classroom where they pledge to reduce their carbon footprint through various means:
- Saving energy by reducing lighting use in half and monitoring classroom thermostat
- Using less plastic by investing in reusable water bottles
- Saving paper by printing less
Students present these initiatives to faculty at a Middle School division meeting.
The fifth-grade multidisciplinary project charges students to explore a current issue that affects millions of people locally and around the world. Each year, the theme of the project changes to a relevant topic. One recent theme was water supply. The water crisis is considered the No. 1 global risk, based on impact to society, according to water.org. Students study water quality around the world and its impact on the population in geography and world culture. Meanwhile in science and math, students research and measure water filtration and brainstorm ways to save water or create systems to clean ocean pollution. They develop content for a brochure and polish their presentation skills in English for the culminating event in April. The goal of this project is to raise awareness on the importance and inequality of water access. Our young minds can make a difference and affect change.
Young Mock Trial is an outreach program that enables Middle School students to develop an early involvement in the legal and theatrical aspects of mock trial. The program focuses on quick analysis, critical thinking and improvisational acting. Members of Young Mock Trial look to the Upper School Torrey Mock Trial team, who succeeded in the 2014–2015 season ranking No. 1 in San Diego County.
THIS AMERICAN LIFE
This is an interdisciplinary project in the sixth grade where students are assigned a fictional American citizen with a predetermined occupation, salary and hometown. Students must set a budget. After calculating and deducting federal income tax, they must determine their basic living expenses (housing, food, healthcare, transportation and childcare). After meeting their basic needs, if they have discretionary income left, students may determine how to use their discretionary income. If they fall short of meeting their basic needs on their salary, students must be creative in determining how they will meet these basic needs by either cutting expenses or adding income. The project is designed to reinforce basic computational skills, but the mission of the project is to provide a “real-world” experience about finances and budgeting. Decision-making skills are integral to this project.