They need the collaborative skills to work together to achieve common goals. MicroSociety is a powerful hands on learning environment that connects learners to an understanding of the global economy and social realities, encouraging them to think beyond the constraints of their classroom walls and into a 21st century context. It provides learners with a fun, compelling and practical way to connect their academic learning to the world around them. Having been implemented in 40 states across the country, it has expanded to Africa, Bermuda, Canada, South America and South Korea.
What Is It?
With MicroSociety, school is society, a thriving, modern-day, mini-metropolis—complete with a government center, entrepreneurial hub, non-profit organizations, consumer marketplace, university and community gathering spaces, created and managed by the students themselves and facilitated by teachers and community mentors. Student responsibilities and activities are embedded within seven MicroSociety Strands, each intentionally designed to connect societal activity and real world endeavors to standards.
How Does It Work?
Learning in a MicroSociety school occurs across four domains. During the classroom instructional part of the day, the job of each MicroSociety citizen is to build content area knowledge and develop the soft and hard skills, processes, and habits of mind needed to thrive in a civic and professional context. Students spend six weeks in Micro Academy exploring citizenship and the building blocks of community. They write resumes and interview for jobs of their choice before receiving training at Micro University. Ultimately, students move from theory to application and for one period a day begin the process of creating and managing their own small town. Together, students face authentic challenges that arise daily, experiment with a range of strategies for addressing them, and embrace failed attempts at risk taking until new solutions are found. In turn, these real world connections provide a meaningful platform for classroom learning. Over the course of the school year, the society becomes progressively more sophisticated and students identify as accountable and able global citizens.
Carol Perez, the Superintendent of Kingsville Independent School District in Texas, wanted to promote 21st century skills and college readiness. She began with two and now has three MicroSociety schools in her district. She believes MicroSociety builds soft skills as well as leadership skills in her elementary school students and plans to expand to the older grades. According to Perez, the children are so excited about MicroSociety that attendance issues have virtually disappeared.
Lara Silva, Principal at Chocachatti Elementary in Florida, is in her third year in a school that has been implementing MicroSociety for nearly fifteen. She has noticed that long term MicroSociety graduates know who they are, what they want to do and have the leadership and self- confidence to pursue their dreams. They are more focused, more outgoing, and well spoken. All grades (K-5) attend MicroSociety Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for an hour each day.
In a world that demands preparation to add value with increasing complexity, MicroSociety students gain years of experience solving real world problems, thinking critically, collaborating in diverse teams and connecting subject matter and experiences in ways that foster creativity, empathy and grit. From the time they enter the building each day, they are citizens aiming to achieve sustainable change in their world and ours.