Summit Micro school in Canada uses the Futures Playbook
Summit Micro is a small K-8 school in Toronto. As far as we know it at TTF, it is the first school to use the Futures Thinking Playbook in an actual class. And Summit Micro is a perfect place to teach the future because it is an unusual school in many ways.
As an independent school, Summit Micro has the flexibility to establish a learning environment that is engaging and effective. Their academic year is divided into 6-week units, not unusual in its own right. But the backbone of each unit is an investigation using the Project-Based Learning (PBL) approach.
The investigation includes all of the traditional subjects—reading, writing, math, science, economics, etc., but in a context where students learn to apply that knowledge not just “learn” it.
Amanda Devraitis, the school’s principal, adopted the Playbook for the last unit of the year on the future of water. The Playbook is a perfect resource for a 6-week PBL unit because it is fundamentally a systematic investigation of the future on a particular topic.
Not only did students do research on trends and weak signals and develop scenarios and strategies about water, they also added field trips about water and service learning by gathering debris from watery places around Toronto.
Schools in New York City and St. Louis, Missouri are now following Summit’s example and adopting the Playbook as their resource for engaged learning.
In need of inspiration on how to set-up a lesson unit using the Playbook? You can find the global set up of the unit developed at Summit Micro below:
The Story of Water – Unit Overview
April 29th– June 7th(6 weeks)
Inquiry: Sharing the Planet An inquiry into rights and responsibilities in the struggle to share finite resources with other people and with other living things.
Communication (21C Skills Focus): The Power of Stories Story telling is one of the most powerful means that humans have to influence, teach, and inspire. Storytelling forges connections among people, and between people and ideas. Stories convey the culture, history, and values that unite people.
Futures Thinking/Agency: Hope for the future is a primary predictor of success. Teaching the future, you can engage students in thinking and projects that motivate them to learn, equip students to face uncertainty and challenge, empower them to envision a preferred future, and develop agency to bring it about .
Water is essential for life, and as the human population continues to grow, we must find ways to manage and share this critical resource. Students will explore the science of water (chemistry, climate patterns, etc.), how humans learned to manage and distribute water through innovation and ingenuity, the changes of water use on earth as civilizations became more advanced (big history) and the challenges our human population are currently facing to protect and share this vital resource (social studies, geography).
Through stories (literature), students will explore the different perspectives of our global community and the roles, challenges and impacts water has on their lives.
Using the Futures Thinking Playbook, students will explore water “trends” and learn how our actions can impact the future. Students will write “Preferred Future Water Stories ” to share with the school community and present realistic steps that we can take that will lead us to this preferred future of water. Students will create a pledge to accompany these steps which our community can students will present a “pledge” (artifact).
Final Artifact: The Future of Water Stories
- How can we tell stories? Written, verbal, drama, video, etc. (voice and choice)
- Experiential Learning
- Reflection Journals
- Final Artifact (Story/Pledge)
Entry Event: Whole School (House Team Challenges
Artifact: Stories of Water from the future – Water Heros, Pledge for Action
LESSON PLAN OVERVIEW
Week 1: Science (grade specific curriculum)
- C: Water cycle
- H: States of mater, solutions,
- S: Water systems, influence on climate and weather
Week 2: Importance of Water for life – water history (time line), How we use water
Week 3: Challenges/Solutions – Accessibility, distribution, pollution,
Week 4: Topic exploration/choice: Micro/Macro examples, trend study (FPB: Play 6-8), innovation
Week 5: Imagining the Future of Water (FPB: Plays 9-13)
Week 6: Preferred Future of Water/Hero of the Future
Language (weeks 1-6): Water in Literature (Poetry, stories, symbolism, etc.)
- Timeline of WATER (School display to support ‘Big History’ concepts – Scientific discoveries, Innovation, Social advances/impacts (eg. Agriculture, treatment, health)
- Water Stories (variety of genres, messages, etc.)
- Organizations supporting water equity, conservation, preservation, etc.
Special Guests, Trips, Events:
- WE Walk for Water
- Water treatment plant
- GUSH Workshop
- Water treatment plant
- Humber River clean-up