Module Spotlight: Recycled Civilizations

By Isabel Engel

Hello! I hope you enjoyed last week’s module spotlight on Anxiety Monsters, created by Nathan Beard. I heard a lot of great feedback, and some even mentioned they wanted to create anxiety monsters for their own anxieties with work or other items in life! I always think a creative outlet is great for releasing stress and anxieties. If you missed last week’s post, check it out here.

This week we will be looking at Recycled Civilizations, created by Michele Haney, Cascade Middle School Weaver.

 Figure 1: Example of entire civilization- shelter, water, food storage and more!

Figure 1: Example of entire civilization- shelter, water, food storage and more!

Academic Subject of Integration: Social Studies

What’s the Big Idea? Engineering our own lost civilizations teaches us how the parts of a civilization make up the whole, and gives us a foundation for learning about other civilizations old and new.

 Figure 2: Example of a shelter

Figure 2: Example of a shelter

What is it? In this module, students work as a team to build Neolithic civilizations out of only recycled materials. The students are given the age of the civilizations, the number of inhabitants and the type of environment, but they are tasked with researching and creating a model of that civilization. Using recycled materials not only keeps the cost down on the project, but teaches students how ancient civilizations needed to use the resources available to them to build their homes and cities. At the end of the project, students give a short group presentation about their model, discussing materials used, layout, and challenges they encountered along the way.

 Figure 3: Example of a shelter

Figure 3: Example of a shelter

Main Purpose: Creative projects that get students to actively participate help them to understand and retain the material better. By starting with blueprints and moving to models, students are applying classroom knowledge it to real world activities. A creative group project gets students to invest into what they are learning and teaches them real world skills such as project management, design, organization, communication and teamwork. By using recycled materials, the students are also engaged in critical thinking to be able to transform an ordinary object into an entirely new object, such as an egg carton into stairs, or a paper towel tube into a tower.

 Figure 4: Josef Bonham, CMS 8th grader, presenting his Neolithic Civilization Model

Figure 4: Josef Bonham, CMS 8th grader, presenting his Neolithic Civilization Model

Want to see more? Navigate to the ArtCore Modules section under “Teaching & Learning” or you can click here.