My high-achieving, college-bound students are passionate about developing their intellectual life. They are creative and critical thinkers whose interests extend beyond the boundaries of a traditional high school curriculum. In our college preparatory and digital arts program, students explore academic and real-world problems by making connections between the disciplines, and they express their findings using digital tools and media.
My challenge is to design original curriculum that will pique students' curiosity and initiate independent enquiry.
Towards these ends, our school has recently been approved to offer students the opportunity to participate in the AP Capstone Program, which allows students to explore their passion while acquiring research skills.
This year, my AP Seminar students will explore what it means to be human by asking some of life's biggest questions: What characterizes basic human nature? Why do we create art, fall in love, go to war, and engage in other behaviors? What, if anything, separates us from plants, animals, and machines?
No textbook can adequately capture the diversity of perspectives needed to answer these questions—and in fact, no textbook currently exists for this course!
As a result, I will be spending the summer collecting sources and compiling them into a thematic, interdisciplinary coursepack. I will need three cases of copy paper and two packs of toner to make the necessary copies for my students.
My goal is for these sources to be a launchpad for students' independent research. By closely reading and questioning the sources found in this coursepack, my students will be taking their first steps towards developing their own views on what it means to be human—and towards developing a richer intellectual life.
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