Section 3

Senior Defense

Every senior at Life Academy is responsible for completing an in-depth study of a topic of their choosing and then presenting their findings before a panel of teachers, peers, and community members.

Discussion Questions

How does the Senior Defense compare to the teaching and learning in your local high school?
How would project-based lessons, like the Senior Defense, engage and prepare students in your school or district?

The Senior Defense provides an opportunity for students like Carmen Rivera to explore critical issues in their community, such as gun violence or lack of available health care. How might your school create opportunities for students to connect learning to community issues and concerns?

Biology Class

The biology and English teachers at Life Academy worked together to design a joint lesson on genetic testing, creating a character and storyline that connects the course work in both classes. “It just adds a whole different energy to the classroom if you can come up with really engaging and interactive curriculum,” says biology teacher Claire Crossett.

Discussion Questions

What do you notice about the students in Claire Crossett’s class?
How does their engagement compare to the engagement of students you know?

Students in Claire Crossett’s class work in teams to conduct and analyze the genetic testing. What are the benefits of team-based lessons? What are the challenges?

Life Academy’s biology lab makes hands-on learning possible for its students, but not all schools have access to these state-of-the-art tools. Do all students and teachers in your district have access to the science labs and supporting materials?