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Driving Question: 

What influences have you identified that are connected to the dramatic changes in Shanghai's culture?

Social Studies
Grade 7

Students worked in teams to create three-minute documentaries on cultural changes that have occurred in the city of Shanghai. Students choose an area of interest and set goals for investigation of the dramatic cultural change. Instead of relying purely on resources at the school, students were required to plan and organize visits and experiences the places they chose to investigate in order to embrace a larger learning community and become more socially engaged. They also worked with authors, adults and experts in the field of filmmaking. The project culminated in a film festival for the school and the community and students wrote up a reflection on what they learned. 

Student Reflection

“We selected out topic because it was very interest and fun to learn about Shanghai’s architecture and to see its advancement in building very tall buildings. We are really interested in how filmmakers pull off amazing films, and how they have all the types of camera angle that make films great.” - Justin and Kevin

“The reason we selected this topic was that we had a persona connection. Both of us have family members that have lived through the torture of the Red Guards. The interesting thing for us about filming is its way of telling stories. We hope that with this documentary people can learn something new, and further understand the change that Shanghai has gone through. “ - Royce and Renee

“We selected this topic because we were passionate about it and wanted more people to be educated about hygiene and its importance especially when it comes food. We think that filmmaking is an easy and amazing way to educate people. It was a fun and challenging experience and we hope that after watching our documentary the audience will understand hygiene is and how careful we have to be when eating local food, especially at wet markets.” - Tania and Shauya

Student Products
  • Research and investigate cultural change in the city if Shanghai
  • Plan and implement field research
  • Create three-minute documentary
  • Write reflection on learning
Teacher Reflection

"The process of the project was rigorous, but not necessarily the content information. We didn't focus as much on the content as our current standards are broad. We instead focused on the challenging social skills aspect. To give it longevity, we will need a better curriculum connection and foundation. This might require us to narrow the voice and choice as well align to the C3 standards." - Mr. Kirk Irwin

"If anyone was to look at the documentaries, they would be impressed at what they achieved. It was very engaging for all the students. Eventhough we have had different students, they have found it engaging year after year." - Melanie Ryan


Kirk Irwin

Melanie Ryan