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Inquiry Lanes

What’s Driving What?

How do public decisions around transportation impact access to educational and economic opportunities?

How does how we get around impact the world around us, and how does our world influence how we get around? In this study of Philadelphia traffic patterns (pedestrian, vehicular, public, and more), you’ll examine transportation through the lenses of city planning, education and economic access. You’ll learn how mathematics and physics inform speed limits, study the algorithms used to determine GPS directions and collect and analyze data from bike paths,

public transportation hubs, and sample citizen commutes using statistics and mathematical modeling.

Armed with this information, you’ll collaborate with civic leaders, city planners, and local activists to help make comprehensive decisions about transportation, access, and safety that could have a major impact on your city within your lifetime.

Areas of Study:

  • Physics
  • Statistics
  • Mathematical modeling
  • Sociology
  • English
  • Civics

Essential Skills and Disciplines:

  • Research and investigation
  • Digital literacy, content construction, and knowledge representation
  • Critical thinking, systems thinking, and design thinking
  • Problem-solving
  • Written, verbal, statistical and artistic communication
  • Reflection and mindfulness

Neighborhoods in Transition

How is a neighborhood defined?

This project begins with stories. Stories from students about your own neighborhood experiences, stories from local urban planners, historians, and civic leaders, stories from Philadelphia’s history, and stories from writers who have defined and redefined how we think about cities and neighborhoods, from Charles Dickens, Upton Sinclair, and Sandra Cisneros to Lorraine Hansberry and Nadine Gordimer.

You’ll dive deep into questions of time, place, and historical lens as you study the work of William Penn and visit some of the parkways, highways, and bridges he was instrumental in creating.

You’ll then focus on key historical moments and their impacts on neighborhood boundaries and the identity of place.

From there, you’ll partner with artists at neighborhood-based arts institutions to understand how public service and public artwork can promote community empowerment and instill pride of place. Ultimately, you’ll create multi-disciplinary arts and communication projects, which allow you to showcase your learning in the neighborhoods that inspired your work.

Areas of Study

  • History
  • Literature
  • Sociology
  • Oral and written communication
  • Civics
  • Art

Essential skills and disciplines:

  • Observation
  • Imagination and inquiry
  • Decision-making modeling
  • Art-making
  • Written, verbal, statistical and artistic communication
  • Conflict resolution
  • Critical thinking, systems thinking, and design thinking

WaterWays

How has Philadelphia’s location at the confluence of two rivers provided both opportunity and challenge to its residents?

As you delve into the history behind Philadelphia’s rivers, watersheds, and water-based infrastructure, questions of environmental impact, public health and safety, and economic opportunity will naturally come up. Immersing yourself in Philadelphia’s rivers, you’ll explore the biological and chemical properties of water flow, usage, and preservation, and question how they guide and limit economic ingenuity along Philadelphia’s waterways.

As part of this Inquiry Lane, you might learn biology through taking and analyzing water samples throughout the city, study 3D modeling and physics by building wooden boats alongside local craftspeople, and develop entrepreneurial skills as business models and start-up processes are examined in partnership with local organizations dedicated to Philadelphia’s waters.

Areas of Study:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Civics
  • Economics
  • Statistics
  • Business math
  • Communications

Essential Skills and Disciplines:

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Carpentry
  • Debate, Socratic dialogue, and constructive listening
  • Digital Media
  • Robotics
  • Scientific Field Work
  • Public Policy Analysis
APPLICATION PROCESS

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