Student Projects Sought for ‘Night at the 21st Century Museum’

On May 14, the Heritage Complex in Tulare will be transformed into a showcase of student projects as part of “A Night at the 21st Century Museum.” This new event will feature dozens of documentaries, live performances, literacy projects, enterprise ventures and other exhibits from elementary, middle and high school student groups across the county.

According to Joy Soares, Tulare County Office of Education’s Project Based Learning (PBL) staff development and curriculum specialist, the event was created with two goals in mind: offer a format where students and teachers can share their high quality work, and create an event where parents, community members and other teachers and students can gain an understanding of Project Based Learning.

“Many Tulare County teachers and students are examining what it means to be 21st century teachers and learners,” says Soares. “A Night at the 21st Century Museum is a place where we can further the discussions together as students, teachers, parents and communities.”

One of the projects featured at the event is a restaurant concept developed by students at Countryside High School in Tulare. Students Taylor Saltkill, Nicole Whitten, Rickelle Floyd, Genesis Deniz and Ruben Gonzales are working to create a restaurant from top to bottom. The team will choose a theme for their restaurant, research appropriate restaurant décor, create the menu, develop job descriptions, learn about food safety, design their attire and serve meals to a panel of judges.

According to school counselor Lisa Jacobo, the Countryside project is an excellent example of PBL. “Students are prioritizing and problem-solving,” she says. “They are working together as a group, observing, imagining, researching and revising. It’s a process where they realize that they can’t do their job without the help of the others.”

Five students from Dinuba High School’s newly created Academy of Engineering and Construction Management have been asked to design the exhibition space for A Night at the 21st Century Museum. Dinuba High School will begin its program next fall with Marlena Celaya as lead teacher. Working with the essential question, “How can we design a 21st century museum where all of the visitors and exhibitors will learn together?” the students are beginning to develop a scale drawing of the space and thinking about how to organize dozens of exhibits and performance areas to maximize visitor engagement.

“I hope that our students will learn what is needed in order to create an exceptional plan – whether it is for this museum or any other business sector project,” says Celaya.

Teachers who would like to submit examples of Project Based Learning for exhibition at A Night at the 21st Century Museum are encouraged to call 647-9973 before April 25. For additional information, call Soares at 651-0501.

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