Da Vinci Students Set Sail to the School Year with Projects

The sophomores recently finished their inaugural project at the high school, The Island Project. Students were tasked with creating a government that could withstand 100 sophomores trapped on a deserted island. On the English side of the project, the students read William Golding’s Lord of the Flies which relates quite literally to what is going on in the World Civilizations classes.

Photo of island project- Sophomore Ethan Horowitz presents on the differences and similarities between his island and the island in the Lord of the Flies

Many created outlandish governments that were too silly to exist, but other students designed more practical ways to govern themselves. Sophomore Na Leifson and her team created a theocratic form of government. “We have a lot of freedom to what our religion is,” she said. “It can be whatever we want as long as we have those people believing in it.”  

In order to present, students needed to have pieces of propaganda that supported their government, a flag for their government that had symbolic elements, and a PowerPoint presentation describing the inner workings of their government and how it relates to Lord of the Flies.

Da Vinci juniors started off their second year at the high school with a big project in their Humanities class, Whose Constitution is it, a debate from the perspective of different social groups on whether the constitution was created to be fair and equitable for all Americans.

Before the debates started, the juniors learned all about the Constitution and the government that followed. Although there was no book assigned on the English side of this project, each junior was given a packet of reading that they needed to annotate and use as evidence later on in their debates.

Juniors Justin Yeung, Amanda Kim, Maggie Watson, and Bradley Shaw strategize after a session of arguments from both sides

Some students represented the Founding Fathers, or Federalists, while others represented African Americans, women, Native Americans, and Anti-Federalists. Many students believed there would be no way for the Founding Fathers to win based on the beliefs of people today, but the end results of the debates surprised them!

Junior Owen Jee represented the Founding Fathers in a debate against women. When asked if he enjoyed the project he said, “It was pretty fun, but it was challenging, it was a lot of hard work.” It seems like Owen’s hard work paid off because his team was able to win their debate!

The most seasoned students at Da Vinci, the seniors also recently finished up their first project of the year Yo, Caesar! In this project, the students read William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar as well as many documents from different political philosophers.

The things they learned in their readings lead the seniors to create their final product. This was to reinterpret the play, Julius Caesar but with their own spin on it. They changed the country and time period in which the play occurred. Senior Charlie Teresi said that he liked the project because, “I enjoyed reading the political philosophers with their different ideologies, considering that they were very similar despite their small differences.”  

Now that these three projects are wrapping up, each class is rolling out new ones as well. Based on what has been done so far, what is to come will be just as interesting!


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