A trip to Block Island

Early in the year, I asked the 21st Century Skills class to compare their own ideas about what 21st century skills are with those of their parents. There were many similarities in the ideas of both groups  but one addition to our list that came out of that conversation came the suggestion “transportation and logistics.”

Immediately, my experiences with World Challenge came to mind, as students are required to make bus reservations, hire guides, and get to the airport on time as they travel through a country in the developing world.  A couple of times in the past I have suggested a day trip to Block Island as an opportunity for my teams to practice the skills they will need out of the country in a much more comfortable and “low stakes” setting. Not to mention, visiting Block Island is a lot of fun!

Our 21st Century Skills class welcomed the challenge of putting together a trip and overall, they excelled in their planning. The students began by defining the problem (figuring out what needed to be figured out!) and then presenting their initial research. Next, students used an Eisenhower matrix to prioritize the tasks they had left as well as categorize them so that each could be placed under the responsibility of one person’s “job description.”

Lastly, students were tasked with coming up with a product that would serve both as a reference for us while we were on the trip as well as a way for them to demonstrate to someone outside of the class all the effort that had gone into planning the day. They came up with a slick (laminated!) color brochure and a short film in which they documented what they imagined each part of the day to be like. Overall, their preparation made for a great day and the weather cooperated! Everyone had a role (leader, transport, morale, safety, budget, etc.) the day of the trip and each student eagerly fulfilled his or her responsibilities. Mr. Spindel joined us as a driver (thank you!!), providing his family’s 15 passenger van, and we all enjoyed the day! On the ferry ride home, I asked students to video tape their answers to the following questions: What was your highlight of the day? What would you do differently next time? How did you feel in your specific role for the day? I look forward to discussing their answers in class today.

block island kayaking 21c

Additionally, students were asked multiple times to identify the 21st century skills that they practiced while completing this project. Here’s a sampling of their answers:

information literacy: we researched several websites to pick which activities we wanted to do, which were the least costly and closest to where the ferry would land

collaboration: we all collaborated together in order to create final needs and estimation for things such as money and what we are going to do

productivity and self-direction: Researching and working on the pamphlet and video when our teacher was not here to guide us

social skills: Making a funny video by understanding social cues

organization: while using the Eisenhower Matrix, we organized our priorities to decide what we had to figure out first to have an awesome trip!

flexibility/adaptability: having a back up plan within our organized activities. Such as planning to go to the movies if kayaking turns out to be unavailable

I’m impressed with their work and I think we could definitely take another field trip! I wonder what ideas they might come up with!

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