Yesterday, my students held our first ever "Know Your Food" Food Festival. I keep hearing how important it is to have a "real-world" audience in mind while presenting a topic. I've tried this with most of the presentations I've done with my AP students. They've done presentations as if they were in front of the United Nations seeking assistance or to a group of NGOs trying to vie for their support depending on how their goals for development in their own country. They've taken a role, and tried the best a 14-15 year old can do to understand the intricacies of that role. In their presentations yesterday, they didn't have to present to an imagined audience, they presented to their peers during their lunch hour. The project was based on the topic, "What every high school student should know about their food".
So, a bunch of high school freshmen were presenting to other high school freshmen what they thought they should know about food and the food industry. There were booths that were comparing organic and non-organic farms, discussing the unequal global distribution of food, looking at cage free farms and feedlots. The best part about this project is that I laid the foundation for the project, but I gave them few parameters. They chose their groups, topics (not from a list of topics I generated, but one they wanted to research and present), designed their booths in a way that would attract a high school freshmen. The best part is they know what high school freshmen would be interested in because they are high school freshmen. So many times, the "real-world" audience is still so far removed from their lives. My students have no knowledge of understand about the United Nations. What happens in that building is totally foreign to them. But ask them what would get a student to come to your booth during lunch to learn about food? They knew exactly how to attract their classmates. Over 500 students participated. My students were on it. They had their talks ready, short and concise to keep the attention of the audience. They had giveaways and food to attract people to their booths. The captivated their "real-world" audience, and the other students loved it!