Experiential Learning Lets Students Show Creativity and Mastery

For students at Trident Academy, a K5-12 school for students with learning differences, final exams are about showing mastery of a subject and showcasing their creativity – not taking a test. They did everything from creating a shark awareness campaign to completing a room makeover – geometry style.


Mrs. Greig’s Middle School science students brought their unit on sharks to life when they designed and implemented a Shark Awareness & Conservation Campaign. First, they learned about a shark’s physiology, sensory system, evolution, and the cruel practice of shark finning. Then, expanding the project, used their creativity to launch a comprehensive awareness campaign that included writing to U.S. restaurants that sell shark fin soup and urging them to stop, presenting ideas for a “shark-proof surfboard,” and encouraging public awareness through a video, online petition, fliers and t-shirts.


“Through this project, students not only learned science, but they connected it with civic engagement and how to effect change in society,” Greig says. “This project really got the students excited about the issues and the information and allowed them to practice 21st century skills in a project that was relevant, engaging, and applied content to real-world issues.”


Tenth graders in Mrs. Alvanos’ geometry class designed their own two-dimensional “dream room.” As the architect and construction manager, they drew the room on graph paper with correct measurements and decorated it with geometrical shapes and solids. They then took their projects to Watson Tate Savory Liollio Architecture to meet with principal Dinos Liollio. Through this project, students showed their proficiency in area, surface area, volume, scale drawings and measurements (metric and English).


“In addition to showing their creativity and their mastery of geometry, students were able to meet with a successful businessperson applying geometry in his career,” Alvanos says. “This real-world application is so important for Upper School students as they discover their strengths and interests on their way to college.”


Art students also designed work to show to Mr. Liollio.

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