World Savvy Challenge FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the World Savvy Challenge?
The World Savvy Challenge is a project based learning program and academic competition for middle and high school students designed to build their knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors for global competence.
When is the Challenge?
Regional Challenge competitions take place in March in San Francisco, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and online. The deadline to register to participate in a regional competition is December 15th. Winning teams from each regional competition are eligible to compete in a national competition, which is judged entirely online in April.
How does it work?
Schools register in the fall and with research and administrative support provided by World Savvy, teachers and students spend time exploring the annual global theme through participation in the World Savvy Scavenger Hunt, as well as through activities, lessons and field trips. Students then work in teams either in-class or after-school to identify a topic and problem for further research, and develop potential solutions to their problem at the local, national, and global level. Students decide how they want to present their information (see participation options below) and create a Knowledge to Action Plan for how they can be involved in implementing their solution.
In the spring, students may compete in a Regional World Savvy Challenge competition where they present their research and solutions to panels of judges, and participate in a collaborative discussion with peers from other schools about the pros and cons of existing solutions to problems relating to the annual theme. As students apply their knowledge to various events during the day, they earn points towards their overall team score. Teams that score above a designated threshold are eligible to compete in a National online competition where they could be awarded a grant to aid them in the implementation of their Knowledge to Action Plan.
How do students participate in the Challenge?
Students may participate in the World Savvy Challenge either in person or online.
Students competing in an in-person Regional Competition in either Minnesota or California will present their research and solutions in ONE of the following forms:
Ø Performance: In a format of their choosing, each team presents its extensive research and analysis, identifies the major issues raised, and proposes reasonable solutions at the international, national and local levels. Presentations often take the form of creative skits or simulations as students communicate their understanding of the topic’s complexities. The Performance takes place on Challenge Day and is scored by a panel of judges.
Ø Showcase: A visual representation of each team’s extensive research and analysis, major issues raised, and reasonable solutions at the international, national and local levels. The Showcase generally takes the form of a poster, sculpture, or multi-media presentation. The Solutions Showcase is presented by students on Challenge Day to a panel of judges.
Students participating in the online competition will present their research and solutions in ONE of the following forms:
Ø Documentary: In a 15-minute filmed format, each team presents its extensive research and analysis, identifies the major issues raised, and proposes reasonable solutions at the international, national and local levels. Videos should take the form of an investigative piece, but can also include creative skits or simulations as students communicate their understanding of the topic’s complexities. The Documentary is posted online and is scored by a panel of judges.
Ø Website: A 5-page online presentation of each team’s extensive research and analysis, major issues raised, and reasonable solutions at the international, national and local levels. The website should include a summary of information in a concise, readable and engaging format for the general public. Images and multimedia components should be used thoughtfully. The Website is posted online and is scored by a panel of judges.
All students, whether competing in-person or online, will also be required to complete the following:
Ø The Knowledge to Action Plan: A written proposal that accompanies a team’s chosen presentation format. The Knowledge to Action plan outlines the steps that the students themselves can take to implement a solution to their identified issue on a local, national, and global level.
Ø The Action Roundtable: A collaborative discussion with peers from other schools during which students will examine the pros and cons of existing strategies for addressing a problem related to the annual theme and reach a consensus about which solution is the most effective. Students participating in-person will complete the action roundtable at their regional events; students participating online will complete the action roundtable online.
I’m interested in participating with my students online, but I do not have strong technology skills. Will this hold me and my students back?
Not at all. All online components of the World Savvy Challenge will be in easy to use formats. (For example, students are not responsible for building their own websites, rather they will be using a template that we provide). Additionally, you will receive support from World Savvy staff if any questions arise.
What is the theme for this year’s Challenge?
The theme of the World Savvy Challenge from 2011-2013 will be Sustainable Communities. From climate change to alternative energy, economic development to governing systems, sustainability is a critical issue of our times. Students will explore the political, economic, social and environmental aspects of building sustainable communities, locally and globally. Possible topics to explore include waste, water, food, energy, climate, and community-related issues.
How does it connect to State Academic Standards?
World Savvy compiles curriculum that connects the program to standards in US History, Geography, World History, Civics, Economics, Earth Science, Math and Language Arts.
What is required of Teachers?
Teachers are responsible for introducing students to the annual theme and supervising research and Challenge preparation. How teachers choose to engage in the program varies from the school to school; some teachers complete the program as an after school activity, and others embed the program into their curriculum and complete it during class time. Students will spend an average of 20-25 hours completing their presentations. In addition to adding students with their presentations, teachers whose students are competing at an in-person competition are required to be present on that Saturday. World Savvy will provide ongoing support for teachers including resources and in class support.
Do I need a coach to participate?
Any team that has not participated in the past or is in 9th grade or below must have an adult advisor. Returning teams in 10-12th grade may be self-coached.
How much does it cost?
There are three separate packages for participation in the World Savvy Challenge. For more information on pricing, download the world Savvy Challenge overview and pricing guide. These program costs include breakfast and lunch for students and coaches the day of the Regional Challenges, a prize for each participant, and comprehensive support from World Savvy during the research and preparation phase.
Who judges the competition?
Judges are prominent community members who volunteer their time to participate in the Challenge. They have an interest in international affairs and come from a variety of backgrounds and professions. World Savvy provides a comprehensive training for all judges.
What support is available?
World Savvy provides a collaborator’s guide containing lesson plans, activities, and resources related to the annual theme, a two-day professional development institute for coaches, online webinars, monthly educator labs, on-site workshops focused on the global theme, optional field trips for students, structured research support (including access to a research advisor), customized curriculum support, and comprehensive administrative support to all teams.
How does the Challenge benefit students?
The World Savvy Challenge educates youth about community and world affairs and builds important skills such as critical thinking, teamwork, public speaking and leadership. Because it is fun and relevant to their lives, it allows students to creatively engage on important issues while building the skills and content knowledge to succeed academically. The Challenge empowers youth to see themselves as lifelong global citizens and encourages them to take informed action to address 21st century challenges locally and globally.
How does the Challenge benefit teachers?
With access to the curriculum guide, professional development opportunities, individual consulting with World Savvy program staff, and ongoing curriculum support, teachers will gain strategies to embed learning for global competence into teaching and learning as well as deepen their own knowledge of complex global issues.
How does the Challenge benefit business and the community?
The World Savvy Challenge illustrates the local community's increasing role in the international global economy and the need for students to understand these new connections. We hope to develop a work force and an electorate attuned to international events and how these events relate to the lives of global citizens. The Challenge affords community members an opportunity to participate in an innovative academic program that showcases the amazing talent and vision of our young people.
How does the World Savvy Challenge compare to History Day?
The Challenge is similar to History Day in that it stresses project-based learning and builds students’ teamwork, communication, and research skills. However, the Challenge also requires students to think critically about current global issues and use their problem solving skills to develop possible solutions to these issues. In the World Savvy Challenge, students are encouraged to apply their knowledge of history to current events to be forward-looking and solution-oriented.
How does the World Affairs Challenge compare to Model UN?
Like Model UN, the goal of the World Savvy Challenge is to encourage young people to become engaged in international affairs and develop the skills and knowledge to understand complex global issues. However, the process by which these two programs accomplish this goal is quite different. Through Model UN, students work at the country level to understand their assigned country’s role in addressing a specific global issue. They also learn about UN processes and procedures as they role play a UN meeting. The Challenge offers students an opportunity to be creative in addressing the annual theme by choosing a specific topic of interest to them and presenting their research and solutions in a format of their choosing. The Challenge is intended to be flexible, so teachers can use it in the classroom as part of their curriculum or it can be done afterschool (or as a club) with minimal involvement from the teacher or coach.
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