World Savvy Challenge
“[The World Savvy Challenge] opened students' eyes to the big wide world…the students are discovering they can be leaders.” -World Savvy Coach
Students as 21st Century Problem Solvers
The World Savvy Challenge engages middle & high school students in project-based learning and collaborative problem-solving around a global theme. Through the program, students work together to research the global theme, identify a problem, and develop solutions to the problem at the local, national and global levels. Students then have a chance to present their research and solutions to the community through creative performances, exhibits, websites and documentaries at culminating live and online competitions. Ultimately, the World Savvy Challenge empowers students to take informed action to address 21stcentury challenges locally and globally.
How It Works
PHASE I: Introduction to the theme - October–January
- Professional Development: Teachers receive professional
development from World Savvy on strategies to embed project-based learning
for global competency into teaching and learning as well as deepen their
own knowledge of complex global issues with a focus on the annual theme.
Professional development opportunities include:
- 2 Day Professional Development Institute on the theme
- Online webinar on the theme
- Online program orientation webinar
- Savvy Scavenger Hunt: Students engage in this interactive activity to learn about the theme and begin making connections between current and past events, as well as intersections between the annual theme and a range of global issues.
PHASE II: Project-based learning – December – March
- Students choose a topic within the annual theme that sparks their interest and work in teams to research their topic. After their preliminary research, students identify an issue, explore what has been done in the past to address this issue, and develop an innovative solution with local, national and global components.
- World Savvy provides tools to build students’ research, media literacy and teamwork skills, as well as ongoing research support and connections to experts in the field for interviews, field trips, etc. Click here to access program resources.
- Project-based learning can be done in-class or after-school.
PHASE III: Preliminary Competition - March-April
- Students submit work to a preliminary competition in one
of the following events:
- Performance - 15 minute creative presentation of students’ research and solutions that engages the audience but is also rooted in strong research. Students choosing this option must be able to appear at live regional competitions in St. Paul, MN or San Francisco, CA. - Visit our Youtube playlist of sample performances.
- Exhibit - Visual representation of students’ research, solutions and action plan in the forms of a tri-fold poster, printed poster, game, or artistic creation. Students choosing this option must be able to appear at live regional competitions in St. Paul, MN or San Francisco, CA. - View our exhibit gallery from past years.
- Website - A visual representation of your research and solutions that will be displayed online to be critiqued and evaluated by a panel of judges. Submitted online: No geographic requirement. - Visit a website from last year's Challenge.
- Documentary - 15 minute video that uses audio and visual evidence such as photographs, maps, film clips, images, narration, and interviews summarizing students research and solutions. Submitted online: No geographic requirement. - Visit out Youtube playlist of sample documentaries.
- Knowledge to Action Plan: All students will also be required to develop a written Knowledge-to-Action Letter of Intent outlining how they plan to take informed action.
- Action Roundtables: In addition to competing in their chosen event, each participating student is required to compete in an action roundtable, where they will discuss existing strategies for addressing a problem related to the annual theme. Students will collaboratively agree on the most effective solution to the problem. Participation in the action roundtable is required for all students who wish to be eligible to receive prizes in the regional and national competitions. Students participating in-person will complete the action roundtable at their regional events; students participating online will participate in an online action roundtable. - Read last year's Action Roundtable Scenario.
PHASE IV: Final Competition - May
Students that score in the top 10% at a preliminary competition are invited to submit a Knowledge-to-Action Proposal to a Final Competition, where they have the chance to win funding to implement their plan over the next six months.
The World Savvy Challenge theme is global in scope and provides students with a framework for choosing their research topic. Within the broad theme, World Savvy identifies possible topics for student research to help guide students in their exploration; however students are not limited to this list. The theme will change every 2-3 three years. From 2011-2013 the theme of the Challenge 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. - View the possible topics lists for the Sustainable Communities theme.
Click here to access theme-based resources for the World Savvy Challenge.
Program Resources and Support
- The World Savvy Collaborator’s Guide - Only available to teachers who have registered
- The World Savvy Monitor
- Possible Topics List
- Professional development webinars - Coming in November
- Bi-weekly resource emails - Only available to teachers who have registered
- World Savvy’s online resource library
- Up to 5 hours of student research assistance per team from World Savvy - Click here to submit a question
- A Do-It-Yourself kit for hosting a Challenge run-off
- Student Knowledge-to-Action Plan template
- Student Guides
The World Savvy Challenge is a program of World Savvy, a global education, non-profit working to educate and engage youth in community and world affairs. The program was developed in 2011 after nine years of experience conducting youth engagement programs in San Francisco, New York, and Minneapolis-St. Paul. The World Savvy Challenge is based on lessons learned through implementation of the World Affairs Challenge in partnership with the Center for Teaching International Relations since 2002 - Click here to view information from past years.
If you are interested in learning more about how to get involved in the World Savvy Challenge, please fill out a program interest form and a member of our staff will get in touch with you shortly.