Project Blocks are 3-week deep dives into cool stuff that really matters and will engage the kids on their terms, empowering them to take interest and lead themselves toward truly meaningful accomplishments. Following is a brief summary of each of the 11 Project Blocks that serve as a stand-alone, interconnecting, and building blocks of knowledge, empathy and power.
We begin with focusing on mastery of self and in the theme of learning by doing, students will develop their own strategic plan for the school year along with planning for acquiring the necessary resources to achieve them. While this is about the individual, we will work as a group helping each other review, enhance, and coordinate activities. Mastery of self involves both your physical and non-physical being and students will enhance their bodies and minds with tools we’ll incorporate all year long including meditation, strengthening, and endurance training as well as proper nutrition and health. One giant step for mankind!
2. Teamwork and Project Management
To accomplish our goals we will need to work as a team. We cannot do it alone and wouldn’t want to if we could! It is more challenging personally and more complex organizationally as we share responsibilities with others. It’s also essential for the greatest positive impact. From the challenge of aligning values and owning roles come the rewards of camaraderie and achievement beyond expectations. Along with other explorations, this block will feature an Emergency Response intensive with ReadyMarin. Importantly, we will use this block to empower all the other projects.
3. Natural Sciences
This block studies the natural world including living things and the systems that support them. For young men it is essential to be in nature and learn to appreciate the beauty, receive the bounty, and know the bounds. Constellations, Weather, Rocks, Animals, Plants, Big Bugs (insects), Small Bugs (bacteria, virus) are all fair game as is an exploration of the human body, our human bodies in particular! We will examine our breath, heartbeat, structural framework and dynamics of movement with a 3-night backpacking trip in Point Reyes National Seashore where cohorts lead and mentors follow.
4. Cultures and Languages
We work to build empathy and understanding by learning basics of communication in several languages. Cohorts will put into practice common greetings and helpful phrases from several languages as well as the customs from around the world, including indigenous peoples and ancestral cultures. This block includes visits to cultural centers and an international pen-pal connection.
5. Analog & Digital Arts
Cohorts will take on a variety of individual and group projects that they’ve selected. First they’ll need to learn lots about the arts, especially the technical aspects, and then get inspired enough about how it will serve the community to actually do it.
6. (Investigative) Journalism & Creative Writing
Cohorts will have a chance to dive deeply into 2 simultaneous perhaps overlapping writing projects as we explore current affairs and other areas of interest with the intent of informing (journalism) and enriching (creative) the public via writings, photo essays, film, and speaking.
7. Sustainability Practices
This block celebrates the coming together of the age-old wisdom of permaculture and the newest technologies transforming our cities into self sustaining eco-systems. Cohorts will visit and participate with some of the Bay Area’s leading innovators and apply learnings to help with a reclamation service project and inventor’s imagination lab.
8. Law and Politics
Cohorts will discover the foundations of a democracy as they develop a legal mindset and public policy orientation with the leadership and organizational skills to match developed through our own model UN and model Local Government entity. We will select at least one political cause to support (see Investigative Journalism Block) and start a campaign. Visits to City Hall and Superior Court are a must!
9. Science and Technology
Time to geek out as we master the tools of scientific inquiry and processes of engineering, along with the math and data that make it all work. We’ll start by taking things apart to explore them from the inside-out, reverse engineering. Cohorts will run their own scientific experiment(s) on a hypothesis of their choosing and see if they can promote it to a Theory! After visits to tech giants in Silicon Valley, we will imagine a future where we are the designers of future technologies and come up with our own ideas to save the world…
10. Business and Economics
Capitalism is the name of the game and everyone needs to know how to play it. Cohorts will visit local businesses, interview owners/employees, and apply learnings by developing a business plan all of their own. Businesses drive and are driven by the economy and understanding the driving factors of the economy can really help one’s business. Our appreciation of Technology and Politics from previous blocks will help us paint a more complete picture of the opportunities and risks involved.
11. Performing Arts
We will finish the year with a live performance written, directed, and performed by these young men.