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Os Primeiros at Civi-Co

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By Sam de Silva, Os Primeiros Lead Educator

In December, a group of future Avenues São Paulo students gathered at a coworking space in the Pinheiros neighborhood to consider a question: how can we make our local and global communities better places to live--environmentally, socially, and economically?

After a rapid brainstorming session, students look for patterns in their ideas.

After a rapid brainstorming session, students look for patterns in their ideas.

These students have been accepted into Os Primeiros, a one-semester program beginning February 2018 that provides rising 10th grade students at Avenues São Paulo the opportunity to dig into Avenues-style learning experiences and begin creating the culture they want for their new school. Over the course of four months, students will engage in interdisciplinary projects and collaborate with members of their communities to implement authentic solutions to real, local issues around sustainability.

This event was the first time accepted Os Primeiros students had an opportunity to collaborate with one another, meet some of the Os Primeiros faculty, and experience a truly unique learning environment. Os Primeiros will be hosted at Civi-Co, a newly opened co-working space for social innovators and entrepreneurs. Everyone working at Civi-Co has committed to building a better São Paulo through social and civic innovation, making it the perfect home for our interdisciplinary program.

Three students collaborate on a prototype of their idea to make walking a more viable transportation option.

Three students collaborate on a prototype of their idea to make walking a more viable transportation option.

In the spirit of the collaborative, innovative space of Civi-Co, Os Primeiros students spent their first experience together taking a hands-on approach to proposing a new product, company, or nonprofit to solve a pressing issue in the realm of sustainability that São Paulo faces today. In small groups, they had wide-ranging brainstorming sessions through which they reached consensus on an issue and a potential solution. In less than an hour, they collaborated to create a logo and visual or physical representation of their solution before presenting them to their peers. Each of the four groups developed creative and inspiring proposals; for example, one group proposed an artistic approach to designing recycling bins to reduce waste while another aimed to increase clean energy in Sao Paulo by mounting solar panels on buses. Though the rapid prototyping model was new for many students, everyone actively engaged in the process and created powerful solutions in a short amount of time.

Focusing on water quality, a group presents their solution to their peers.

Focusing on water quality, a group presents their solution to their peers.

Throughout the event, students and teachers answered important questions about sustainability and developed new questions of their own. In one of the brainstorming sessions, students began to explicitly link environmental issues with their social contexts and began to wonder if environmental challenges can ever be truly solved without considering social impact. In another conversation, students found common ground in determining that income inequality needed to be addressed in any sustainable solution in São Paulo. All of these conversations opened opportunities for future exploration during the Os Primeiros program.

By the time parents arrived for a tour of Civi-Co, students and faculty alike were buzzing with excitement about Avenues’ style of learning and the topics explored. If this event is any indication, Os Primeiros promises to be a laboratory for developing inventive, insightful solutions to sustainability issues in São Paulo.

  • 10th Grade
  • Collaboration
  • Design
  • Environment
  • Event
  • faculty
  • Interdisciplinary Learning
  • Problem Solving
  • Secondary Division
  • Sustainability
  • Upper Grades
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