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CBK Teacher Revamps the “Chimera Project”

students at chat and chew(Dec. 1, 2023) Cedarbrook teacher Kristyn Sanborn revamped the “Chimera Project,” previously developed by CBK teacher Isaac Stanford. In Sanborn’s revamped iteration, students collaborated to create mythical creatures that reflected the tenets of the “Wildcat Way,” expanded on the English Language Arts component of the project, and added new project-based learning elements through “chat and chew.”

Stanford’s iteration was part of CBK’s seventh grade World Cultures class where students researched various animal hybrids, known as chimeras, from different cultures. Students were introduced to ancient Greek myths and then chose their favorite chimera to research. They researched the cultural significance, geographic origins and associated myths of the cultures wherein the chimeras originated. Students then created large posters showcasing their findings. In the second half of the project, students created their own chimeras based on their personality traits, strengths, and weaknesses and wrote their own creation myths. They used 3D design tools to create models of these new chimeras and printed them on Stanford’s classroom 3D printer.

Divided into teams, Sanborn’s scholars designed chimeras that represent the values and beliefs of Cedarbrook’s culture. Teams exhibited their designs and rationales during a classroom “chat and chew,” where scholars discussed projects, gave feedback, and enjoyed potluck style refreshments that included homemade baked goods, soft pretzels, sandwich trays, fried chicken, mac and cheese, and an assortment of chips and drinks.

Through Sanborn’s version of the project, students understood what a chimera is and reflected on the values and beliefs of diverse cultures; and that a chimera can be used as a metaphor for their school’s cultural identity. By blending traits of different animals, chimeras can be seen as a representation of values and beliefs.

Throughout the project, scholars explored the relationship between personal and cultural identity; presented research on hybrid mythological creatures from diverse cultures and how they represent the specific culture’s values and beliefs; worked on teams to determine five values and/or beliefs that play a significant role in Cedarbrook’s culture and chose an animal to represent each value/belief; gathered relevant written and anecdotal evidence in order to write rationales; found evidence included in Cheltenham School District’s vision and mission statements, the Cedarbrook student handbook, the PBIS matrix, and their own experiences at school; practiced the skill of using a critical eye to give kind, helpful, specific feedback; and used feedback to revise their designs and rationales.

Photos and Videos from “Chat and Chew”>