What will the world look like in 10 years? What about in 30 years? Students in a civics class at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School got a peek through the eyes of senior Sam Fetters.
Seniors at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School presented a project Monday, a unit to incorporate into the newly established civics curriculum. A group of 10 students, led by history teacher and project coordinator Leigh Fairchild-Coppoletti, designed the project, which focuses on linking what they’ve learned about past and current geopolitics to creatively envisioning what the future will look like by 2050.
Project leader Sam Fetters’ almost yearlong independent project was the initial inspiration for the comprehensive assignment, says Fairchild-Coppoletti: “He’s created this whole work of nonfiction, in which he’s predicted what will unfold over the course of the next 30 years, geopolitically.”
Fairchild-Coppoletti asked the audience, all seniors that will be participating in the new unit: “What do you think will happen? What will the next 30 years bring? What will the world look like? What would you want it to look like?”
What makes the unit unique, said Fetters, is that it is a collaboration of both teachers and students. The new unit consists of two parts; the Alliance Project, which Fetters describes as a “mock–Model U.N.” that has students create political alliances, and the Artifacts Project, which encourages students to consider not only what the world could objectively look like in 30 years, but to also imagine their own futures, considering personal interests and societal change. The group of seniors presented their respective “artifacts,” which had each student describe and discuss their own imagined future within the framework of a focused theme.
Ingrid Moore envisioned what theater and the arts might look like in a few decades. Reading an excerpt from Tony Kushner’s 1991 play “Angels in America” with fellow facilitator Sara Creato, she detailed the ways in which movies and television may change, highlighting a more immersive and unrefined medium.
Fetters used his own project to illustrate the vast possibilities of the CCI (Civics and Current Issues) course’s new unit. His imagined future, comprehensive with simulated statistics and based on current global dynamics, emphasizes peace and tolerance in an otherwise bleak future.
The passion of the student team responsible for the presentation exemplified the significance of introducing a program such as Project 2050 into the history department’s required civics course. Seen as an exciting mixture of game strategy and creative exercises, Fetters enthusiastically added how much they’ve enjoyed exercising their imagination.
“If someone like me can think of stuff like this,” says Fetters, “what happens if each person in our senior class is allowed to look at things they’re passionate about and explore what those things might look like in the future. I think the answer to that is we can come up with some really amazing and unique things.”