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Madison Metropolitan School District

Project Based Learning: Shabazz Students Learn Through Community Connections

Shabazz High School staff and students are piloting a Project Based Learning model with the intention of getting students outside of the traditional four walls of the classroom and beyond the computer screen to learn while doing things first hand in the Madison community. 

In addition to our core academic classes, students are enrolled each day in an interdisciplinary "learning lab" that offers them experiences working on projects related to themes in: music, cooking, environmentalism, art, illustration, activism, mentoring...among others. Students were offered opportunities to participate in more than 50 field trips during the fall of 2021. These opportunities have connected students with numerous community partners such as: 

Dane County Land and Water, Madison Library Bubbler, Cafe Coda, Willy St. Coop, Lake View Elementary School, Madison Art Lit Lab, Chazen, MMOCA, Cooperative Children’s Book Center, Dane County Parks.

Shabazz Students Say

“These activities helped me to get more connected to the class and the subjects on a deeper level than I already was.”

“Prairies are cool as hell and I think restoring them or helping to restore them is not only a good learning experience, but also just a ton of fun and a worthy cause.”

“I loved this experience (working with MMOCA)! I thought it was fascinating to hear about racial issues conveyed through art.”

“I thought it was fun (cooking community meals), and it actually got a lot more people involved compared to having the guest speakers over. We got to actually do cooking for once and it forced us to get creative and work together. We still incorporated data analyzing by rating all the chili and talking about if a number scale or open ended rating would be better, or who those types of data would be better suited for. Overall a very good experience.”

“I enjoyed our trip to Troy gardens very much, the rain did not make it any worse or better because I would’ve loved it either way. It made me feel so close to my class and our environment.”

Students doing restoration work
Students in a jazz workshop
Students harvesting vegetables

Photos illustrate students doing restoration work collecting seeds at Dane County Parks, students experimenting live in a jazz workshop with local female professional jazz musicians, and students harvesting vegetables from our school garden for a community meal.