Mary Mobley teaches English and Michael Chambers teaches world history at Manor New Technology High School in Manor, Texas. They used The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins to teach their students about forms of government between World War I and World War II, and Edutopia featured their project.

EH: How is Manor New Technology High School different than many other high schools?

Mary: We are an integrated STEM school, which means that we teach science, technology, engineering, and math on our campus, in addition to the other core subjects. However, our humanities courses at all grade levels, freshman through senior, are integrated, which means that the students are getting English and social studies at the same time. It’s supposed to be such a seamless integration that the students can’t pull the content apart. It’s the same thing in some of our math courses, math and science, they’re integrated as well. This year, we are doing an engineering course with freshman biology. It’s going to be biotechnology, so that the students are learning science in the context of engineering or math and vice versa.

Michael: It gives these subjects an extra dimension, and it shows the kids that subjects are not isolated; they interrelate.

EH: How does project-based learning play into this?

We don’t mind taking risks and trying new things.

Mary: Project-based learning is the vehicle that we drive our curriculum with. So we do 100% project-based learning, which means that all of our classes do projects and use project-based learning, or problem-based learning. We also do them back-to-back, so there is very little, if any, direct teaching or traditional teaching going on.

EH: Do you find this is effective in helping students learn and retain knowledge?

Michael: I think so. They enjoy it. They see the relevance because we try to make the projects that we create as real world as possible, something they can go out into the world and get a job doing.

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