George Lucas Educational Foundation
George Lucas Educational Foundation

Empowering Students to Be Real-World Problem Solvers

When middle school students are given the opportunity to deeply explore what it means to be a changemaker, they see a path toward making a difference in their own community—and beyond.

May 8, 2024

At Amana Academy in Alpharetta, Georgia, every grade level from kindergarten through eight has a thematic focus that lasts the full school year and is integrated into each academic subject. In eighth grade, students investigate what it means to be a “changemaker” in their community by tackling real-world problems and studying how individuals throughout history have made a difference. From math to English language arts (ELA) to STEM, each class weaves the theme into their regular curriculum. In ELA, for example, eighth graders read the book Farewell to Manzanar, a memoir about the experience of a young woman and her family in a Japanese internment camp in the U.S. during World War II. For the author, writing the book and talking about her family’s experience was her way to be a changemaker. In STEM class, students learned about the homeless population in Atlanta—first building empathy by reading stories of real people, and then helping to address the problem by partnering with a local nonprofit, the Mad Housers, to build a small home that would be given to a local family or individual in need. By the time Amana students head for high school, all of them identify as changemakers, and they have the agency and confidence to make a difference—in their own lives and the lives of others.

Schools That Work

Amana Academy School

Charter, Suburban
Grades K-8
Alpharetta, GA

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Filed Under

  • Integrated Studies
  • Community Partnerships
  • STEM
  • 6-8 Middle School

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