It’s always awe-inspiring when students take hold of a project and are given the power to lead it. They set goals, delegate, lead discussions, and critique each other’s work as if that were a normal process. I’ve just seen this with the eighth-grade social studies students at Shanghai American School. The students at my school have been engaged in a project in their class around the topic of psychology.
While this might seem to be outside the normal social studies curriculum, the teachers are experimenting with the adoption of the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards. The framework emphasizes inquiry and content, and also citing sources and communicating ideas to make a difference. The teachers modeled a PBL project around the overall framework. They dug deep into the C3 framework and found that psychology was explicitly included only in grades 9–12, but that “efforts are underway to better integrate behavioral and social science concepts in the K–8 age bands.”