This year, Junior High students studied the Bill of Rights. For their studies of the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment, students designed physical or computer-generated model prisons. In addition to observing the Eighth Amendment, each student had to consider what kind of inmates they would house, where the prison would be located, what the purpose of the prison would be, and what the activity schedule would be, among other details.
The Junior High had a share on March 7th to exhibit their prisons. Each participant displayed a six-page brochure that summarized everything about their prison. Some students showed models made of foam core, wood, and other materials. Others showed digital renderings of their proposed prisons, made using programs like SketchUp and Minecraft.
On this year’s models, Junior High teacher Kristen Moore said, “I’m in awe of the digital prisons because I haven’t had any practice with these programs. I’m amazed at what students can create and the amount of detail they can include.” The physical 3D models, too, impressed Moore. They were especially detailed this year “due to Jean-Philippe’s support and guidance and students’ access to materials and tools in the new Thinking Tank.”
Moore also noted, tongue firmly in cheek, a certain irony that has emerged from her years of supervising the project. “One observation I always make is that many of the prison programs sound an awful lot like Sequoyah. This must either mean our students believe that Sequoyah’s program helps create productive, positive members of society, or that Sequoyah is like a prison.”
Mid-way through the project, 8th grade student Quinn Neubert said, it is “going really well and we are all being really productive! I’ve learned a lot about the 8th amendment.”
“We have to think about not being cruel, but at the same time punishing and it’s kinda hard,” said 7th grader Simone Trinidad about how to treat the prisoners.