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Interdisciplinary Capstone

Course Description


This challenging course for highly-motivated seniors enables students to develop advanced research, writing, and presentation skills, while grappling with essential questions that span disciplines.  It will pull together and further refine the skills that students have developed and advanced in all courses during their Boston Latin School education.  It will culminate in the creation of a truly interdisciplinary investigation and Capstone project that students conceive and execute with the support of faculty mentors throughout the school.
 
To be successful in the Senior Capstone course necessitates that a student:
  • have a genuine passion for sustaining and producing an independent project 
  • be willing to conduct deep research, using traditional research materials as well as visiting sites
  • be open to conducting surveys, interviews, and conversations with individuals and groups who could contribute to the project  
  • be capable of allocating his/her time adequately to allow ample time to complete his/her project.   
  • have strong organizational skills 
  • have an ability and creativity to think “outside the box” and do whatever it takes to produce a powerful project 
  • exhibit a desire to prioritize the work on this project over a long period of time 
  • have a keen interest in working collaboratively with fellow students engaged in parallel projects is important.
 
During the first part  of the academic year, students will engage in inquiry-based, self-driven authentic learning while researching, collecting, analyzing, evaluating, and presenting information from a variety of sources, all focused around a central topic—that of food and issues surrounding it.  During these initial months of the course, students will be building skills that will result in a student-designed Capstone project completed in the second half of the academic year.  Coursework will also focus on constructing/deconstructing arguments and delivering engaging and informative presentations that persuasively advocate for a particular point of view or perspective.

Concurrent with the coursework in the first portion of the year, students will be developing and receiving feedback and approval on an essential question, a series of primary and secondary research questions and a proposal for their final Capstone projects as well as building a website and beginning to blog on their weekly research and work progress. 
 
The class will culminate in a student-designed and faculty-advised interdisciplinary project in the second part of the academic year.  The project may take multiple forms—some examples might be (but are not limited to) projects such as: building a vehicle, writing (and performing?) a play, creating a significant work of art, creating a mobile app, planning and testing a new course, producing a documentary film, conducting and documenting a laboratory investigation, writing a manual or plan for community action.  This project will require students to formulate a sophisticated research question on an academic, artistic, cultural, sociological, scientific, technological, or community-based topic of deep personal interest.  Students will then plan and conduct an independent, inquiry-based research project that results in an innovative product that takes a form appropriate to the nature of their research question, reflecting the thinking and skills they have both acquired cumulatively during their time at the school and refined in the first half of the course.   All of these projects will be presented by the students to the entire school community in the form of a series of individual 18-minute TED talks delivered over two days in the spring. 
 
To visit the website for the Capstone course, go to: http://bostonlatincapstone.weebly.com