The ACA Capstone Project
Last year, in the Reynolds Advance College Academy (ACA) at J.R. Tucker High School, the senior-year faculty in BIO 101/102, PSY 200/230, PLS 211/212, and ENG 244/242 devised a months-long project for their shared cohort of 45 students across their four spring courses. Using one of the selections of the Reynolds "Around the World through Books" series, Kevin Bales' Blood and Earth, faculty members asked 15 trios of students to annotate and research their choice of biological, psychological, or political content in Bales' book.
After all 45 students shared their findings anonymously, highlights from each disciplinary focus were determined from votes received in a "hive mind" poster session. The 15 trios were then reshuffled into three groups of 15 by discipline. Each group presented a multimodal presentation on the book for the live audience at the book discussion in the WDCC Gallery. Through division of labor, each group decided roles for themselves (speakers, visual content curators, researchers, timers, etc.) and all fielded questions.
The project taught a large cohort of graduating Reynolds ACA students to work together for a common goal of making intensive research public and accessible. As a capstone, it showed how three scientific disciplines (biology, political science, and psychology) are interrelated, even though each uses distinct discursive practices. Finally, it brought together teaching professionals from four distinct subject areas to forge an integrated assignment of unprecedented ambition and scope. The project was repeated again this spring by the Class of 2018.
Congratulations to both classes for raising the Advance College Academy model to the next level!
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