The year begins with a bang. Students shuffling in with crumbs of summer still in their eyes are staring down the project to end all projects.
Their first topic in a U.S. Government course is about Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau. The Social Contract theory, an idea most of us first experienced in high school is the first topic to be tackled by these new 8th graders. What’s worse is that they are being asked to answer an unanswerable question: How Should Power Be Distributed in a Stable Society?
Confused about the content, the students look for structure, but all of this is new. Students will tackle this content and answer the essential question in self-selecting teams. They will navigate their learning through teacher chosen resources, but then they choose an area in the real world to apply their knowledge. Looking down the scope of this project seems like an impossible task. So much to do, so many moving parts, and ugh… working in teams.
When asked to share their feelings, the number one feedback is that they do not want to work in teams. They complain about pulling others through, unfair workload, confusion, and arguments. In their experience teamwork…