I'm posting this here to make these stories more searchable, but these links are all available under Special Projects to the right.
Akron Public Schools spent more than five years designing a $14.5 million math and science middle school where students would learn in ways dramatically different from traditional classrooms.
Every detail of the new school, which opened in the fall of 2009 in a temporary location, was planned to grab and keep a student's interest by solving real-world problems and exploring the concepts underlying mathematical formulas rather than just memorizing them for a test.
Years of planning, millions of tax dollars and the contributions of practically every significant public and private institution in Akron are riding on the effectiveness of these methods.
What do they actually look like and feel like in the classroom?
The Akron Beacon Journal, with the assistance of a fellowship from the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, explored that question in a periodic series in 2009.
The first group of stories is a 5-part narrative account of the school's first big project.
The second group of stories, which ran in the summer of 2009, explores project-based learning from the point of view of students, teachers and parents.
The third group of stories provides some background.
New STEM school launches first project
Group I: Five-day series on Akron STEM school's first big project
DAY ONE: From a seed, a STEM grows
DAY TWO: Swamped with ideas
DAY THREE: Call sends pupils into action
DAY FOUR: Nature of learning
DAY FIVE: Making it their own
- Multimedia collage: A collage by fifth-graders on a healthy ecosystem
Group II: A three-part series about the new STEM school's teaching philosophy
A. Do it, learn it (July 12, 2009)
B. New lesson plans (Aug. 16, 2009)
C. Parents encouraged by new STEM school (Sept. 6, 2009)
Group III: Related stories
New school is for the lucky few (Dec. 14, 2008)
Changing the equation (April 14, 2008)