Brooklyn International High School

The mission of The Brooklyn International High School is to help English Language Learners (ELLs) to develop their language, intellectual, cultural, and collaborative abilities so that they may become active participants in today’s interdependent world. We strive to help every student reach his or her potential by fostering academic growth, personal growth, and tolerance. At BIHS, our teaching philosophy is focused on real-world content and project-based learning. Throughout the year, students and teachers work collaboratively on authentic, experiential, interdisciplinary projects which are presented to fellow teachers, students, and outside visitors.

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School Innovation

21st Century Skills

  • Communication

Building Self Advocacy

innovation description:

Brooklyn International High School students in grades 9 and 10 are identifying and articulating their growth on 21st century skills through written reflections and year round performance tasks. With a deeper understanding of the skills they possess and need to further develop, students are building the capacity to advocate for themselves. To enhance this work, Brooklyn International has adapted the MHA Labs Skill Building Blocks as a lens for students to understand how the skills they use in school are necessary for their preparation for college and future careers. Teachers and school partner, Beam Center, have adopted common language to assess student performance and  skills attainment.

Performance Tasks

  • Modeling Math Through City Building
  • Rube Goldberg Project
  • Math and Music: Creating Geared Rhythm Machines

21st Century Skills

  • Personal Mindset
  • Planning for Success
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Problem Solving
Project Title: Modeling Math Through City Building
DRIVING QUESTION: How do we represent scaled models both two dimensionally and three dimensionally?

For the project students become Urban Planners, not only planning and designing, but also constructing a specified amount of urban space. At the conclusion of the project, students will be able to:

  • Articulate their planning and design process and how their constructions relate to past or current NYC urban infrastructure.
  • Successfully be able to scale (up and down) between a model and the actual size of structures.
  • Reflect on the collaborative nature of the project and a discussion of personal strengths and areas for growth.
  • In U.S. History class, students will be learning about NYC landmarks and how they represent either urbanization and/or the immigrant experience from the late 19th century – early 20th century.

In Math class, the focus is primarily on ratio, proportion, and scaling but can be adapted as need be to accommodate ongoing project design and/or construction elements.

The project should last approximately 6 weeks. The project, if taught in an interdisciplinary way, can be done with 2 classes (approximately 40-45 students).

The Mathematics and United States History classes meet for a combined 8 hours/week. Both math classes will combine to create one large representation.

The culminating project will be a permanent museum-like display in the school with the title card of the project description and links to an audio explanation of both the design and construction process, as well as a student reflection.

Project Title: Rube Goldberg Project
DRIVING QUESTION: How can I use knowledge of energy transfer to make a change in society?

In this project we are going to be using our engineering abilities to construct Rube Goldberg Machines. Together the senior English and Science classes, with the assistance of the Beam center, will be collaborating and problem solving using simple machines, forces, and energy transfers to send a message using a Rube Goldberg Machine. In this project, groups will choose a health topic that they feel is necessary for their friends, family and the community to know more about. Using the canvas of a Rube Goldberg machine they will construct a public service announcement that will educate and inform people to start making healthier decisions in their lives. The process will involve multiple stages of planning where the understanding of energy transfer and the uses of simple machines to complete small tasks will be emphasized through a series of interactive lessons in science class. Health topics, PSA design and planning will occur simultaneously during English class. Videos of the PSA “Rube Goldberg Machine” will be presented to the community to spread the word on making better choices. As a final performance task for their science class students will write a photo essay describing their experiences with trial, error, failure, and success and will facilitate a discussion on energy transfer.

Project Title: Math and Music: Creating Geared Rhythm Machines
DRIVING QUESTION: How can I use the Euclidean Algorithm to create polyrhythms for a geared rhythm machine?

Students will work on this interdisciplinary music project in Math, Science, English, History, and Visual Arts classes.  The geared rhythm machine component will be a focus in math and science class.  In English, History, and Art, students will be writing songs, learning about musical genres, considering social justice issues, and creating album art.  The solo math and gears component could take 3 to 5 weeks.  Our school serves primarily English Language Learners, so that time frame might be longer than what other populations may need. This project will help students build persistence and problem solving skills.  Students will be working with the concept of gears and how they work, rhythms and polyrhythms, and how to create polyrhythms using the Euclidean Algorithm as they build their machines.  Students will demonstrate what they’ve learned by creating a podcast to summarize their work, and then presenting their project to a teacher at school who will engage in a conversation with them about what they have learned. This is to prepare students for their Senior (Capstone) individual portfolio presentations. We are partnering with BEAM center to create the project and learn how to teach students to create the gears digitally, then print them.