Students in grades 5-7 at the Academy of the Sacred Heart and Berchmans Academy recently participated in their first ever Global Challenge Week, May 21-25. The Academy and Berchmans are the first schools in the Acadiana area to engage in this type of project. The unique weeklong interdisciplinary project engages students in applying higher-order thinking skills to focus in on specific problems and their own solutions to global issues, such as health, hunger, and equality.
The Global Challenge draws from the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and all of the projects the students can choose from include an aspect of those goals. Students may select a challenge they are passionate about or because of the type of task involved. Global Challenge Week allows students to follow their passions and utilize their unique talents and abilities. Projects may include social media, design, or foreign language. They may create a new solution or improve upon existing programs.
Once students select their challenge problem, the project week begins. Students gather teams and work time will be incorporated into the curriculum of their regular courses such as social studies, mathematics, science, and language arts. Teachers oversee the teams and projects, but the students are self-directed and in charge of their own time to determine how they define and analyze the problem. Teachers observe and record work throughout the week.
After a week of working in teams to research and create a solution, the student teams presented their projects to a panel of guest judges from the Acadiana community on May 25th.
Meaghan Savoy, Academy Middle School teacher, said, “This endeavor is an opportunity for us to support our students as they try out all the skills that we know will make them successful in college and in the real world. It’s a chance for us to move beyond the standard curriculum and let them experiment with authentic problem solving with nothing standing in the way of their creativity and brilliance.”
Three teams from the Academy and two teams from Berchmans were selected as semi-finalists with a winner chosen from each school.
The winning teams were:
Academy: Lilly Chandler, Alexys Landry, Grace Dore, and Evie Talbot
Sam Boulet, Henry Neusetzer, Ethan New, and Christian Wills
Both projects were Clean Water for Nepal.