Can a school project make a difference in a community?

The Industrial Revolution isn’t exactly the sexiest of topics for high school students, reports.

“In education today, kids want to see the practicality of what they are learning,” says Andrew Holly, a social studies teacher in Grand Rapids, Mich. “The Industrial Revolution obviously isn’t that engaging in its historical sense to kids, so we tried to make it about things they care about in their lives.”

Holly and his fellow teachers embarked on a project at Kent Innovation High School to create a school-wide project using the Industrial Revolution as a link to 21st century social and political problems. It was a perfect project for Kent Innovation High School, a school that focuses on project-based learning in a team environment. At Kent, which first opened to 108 ninth graders in September 2011, students spend two thirds of their day at the new school focusing on four cores: English, math, science and social studies. The classes use projects, which depart from the age-old conception of the boring school project, as their learning tool…

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