Project Overview

The Heritage Project

Students at Tri-County Early College dug into the history of western North Carolina to better understand the traditions of their ancestors and community. The video to the right shows the public exhibition event that Tri-County students organized and directed.

The Finance Project

Students in traditional school settings have long been told that creating a budget and making smart investment choices is wise. Some may even have done this in a hypothetical or simulated way. But Telannia Norfar, teacher extraordinaire at Northwest Classen High School in Oklahoma City takes it to a whole new level. Everything about this project shows the authenticity and community value that can come by raising the expectations for what young people can do. Watch the video to the right to see it in action. 

The Museum Exhibit Project

Students at Iowa BIG partnered with a local museum in Cedar Rapids to create a immersive virtual reality exhibit through the perspective of a World War I soldier. Students needed to deeply understand the historical lens, then learn highly technical VR programming to make the exhibit an overwhelming success. Read the local news report on the project by clicking the image to the right.

The Urban Re-Farm Project

At High Tech High, a teacher as designer culture leads to incredible interdisciplinary learning experiences. One such project from teachers Pat Holder and David Berggren was the Urban Re-Farm Project. In their own words, "The Urban Re-Farm project was a domestic agricultural effort during which students critically considered human living spaces in-terms of their potential to effectively produce food and reclaim water." 

Mathworks Modeling: Reducing Food Waste Challenge Project

Each year, MathWorks offers a nation-wide competition for teams of students to solve an existing problem using mathematical modeling. In 2018, the issue centered on reducing food waste. Read the stem of the problem along with the winning submission from Los Altos High School, whose students received a prize of $20,000.

One Stone's Project Good

A transformational high school and organization in Boise, One Stone annually runs Project Good. Students lead and direct a service learning experience with a chosen recipient in the community. From their site: "Project Good’s impact is proven and lasting, both in the communities we serve and in developing student leaders who are creating good." Click on the image to the right for details and to view past student-direct projects.

Community Photojournalist Project

In similar fashion to critically acclaimed Humans of New York, students combine the power of storytelling with the visual impact of photography to tell the untold narratives of their community. One of Buck Institute for Education's gold-standard projects, community photojournalism empowers students through creative artistic expression, dynamic networking, and 21st century communication 

Liger's Exploration Projects

Internationally recognized as a beacon of excellence, Liger Leadership Academy in Cambodia has students working on Exploration Projects that start with inquiry. This school year, students are working around the theme of critical teen issues. "They (the students) produced a video on consent for a USAID and US Embassy sponsored competition and were awarded first place" Click their logo to read short descriptions of many past Exploration Projects the Liger community has completed.

Global Leadership Summit Project

Hosted by Education First Tours, each Global Leadership Summit Project starts with a student or team of student asking a big guiding question. One of the selected projects from 2018 had a guiding question, "How does the culture of the Galàpagos people relate to their environmental policy?" Through travel and research, students delve into the heart of the question, seeking deep understanding of the problem in order to speculate possible solutions. Students use a platform called weShare to show learning in a video narrative.

Making Space for Change Project

Another gold-standard project from Buck Institute for Education; the project is adaptable to meet the needs of any context or learning community. "In this project, students are charged with the task of creating an environmentally sustainable redesign for a community space, such as a park, library, public square, empty lot, or community center. Students visit the space, research the local context, needs, resources, and constraints, and investigate principles of environmentally sustainable design. They engage in critique and revision processes that involve local community members, and then they present their solutions to key stakeholders." 

Project Invent

Teams of high school students take a human-centered approach to develop innovative solutions for a specific need in the population. Highlighted projects include a smartwatch that alerts friends if they are in an unsafe situation, a wallet for the visually impaired that can recognize bill values, a heartbeat pulsing stress ball to reduce anxiety. 

The Big Idea Project

Started by a teacher at Columbine High School, the Big Idea Project gets teams of 3-4 students to identify a social impact issue they care about. Teams then find a community mentor in the business community to help understand the problem and come up with equitable solutions that may help solve the problem or mitigate its effects.

Blades of Change Project

One of hundreds of authentic projects highlighted in Models of Excellence (The Center for High-Quality Student Work); Blades of Change culminated in a documentary film on offshore wind energy written, directed, and edited by 12th graders at Four Rivers Charter Public School in Greenfield, MA. The film combined students deep knowledge of physics and storytelling with the technical components of film making. 

 Video or Image Link

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Exploration High School students drive their learning by engaging in authentic projects within and across Learning Domains.


Once operational, displays of students projects will be present online and at public exhibitions throughout the school year. 


Here are several examples of authentic projects that demonstrate students leveraging skills and knowledge to make a positive impact in their community.

Learn more about authentic projects from two of Minnesota's transformational schools:

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Start-Up Coordinators

Nathan Strenge | (320) 248 -1135

Sam Neisen | (651) 335 - 8583


229 13th Ave NE

Minneapolis, MN 55413