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The Island Project

I mentioned before that Carrboro Citizen is my favourite newspaper, the only one I read in hardcopy. Perhaps I like it because it is hyperlocal. Perhaps that is why I have this mindset that those who live in Carrboro already read it and those who don’t will have no interest. So, I rarely blog about their articles. But sometimes something jumps at me as worthy of mention as interesting to anyone anywhere. This week’s edition has one such article – School project an atypical lesson in problem solving – which describes a science project led by Chapel Hill High School Earth and environmental science teacher Rob Greenberg:

The assignment was to pick a location anywhere in the world and create an ancient island there — during pre-human times. The location would predicate the topography, climate and ecology of the island, which would all be included in a map and key the students were to draw of the island they would name.

The second part of the assignment was to draw a map of the island today, including infrastructure designed to leave the smallest footprint, paying attention to all elements of human existence, including dealing with their water, energy and waste requirements within a 10-square-mile area with a population of 1,000 to 2,000. They were also to design a community building — be it a school or recreation or town center.

You can see more details of the project on Greenberg’s website and if you are in the area, please come to the Carrboro Century Center from 2 to 6 p.m. this Sunday to see what the students have done.

What a great way to teach creative thinking and problem solving!


  1. #1 IanR
    February 8, 2008

    That’s a high school class? Wow. I’m really impressed. Although, I suppose that there are opportunities for depth of instruction at the high school level that don’t really exist at the college level, or that are much harder to put together. Regardless, it looks like that teacher is doing something really remarkable.

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