Students are getting a jump on the school year with The Kalahari Project, an approach which prepares them for pre-advanced placement classes.

Soft SkillsAt Waller Middle School in Enid, Oklahoma, twenty one students entering the eighth grade read “Kalahari” by Jessica Khoury, and spent a day in learning exercises based on the book. The story tells of five teens whose survival depends on working together when they are stranded in the Kalahari desert at a safari camp, due to a mysterious virus.

The day started with student asking questions about the book and discussing it with the author via a Skype session. Afterward, they teamed up in small groups, using research skills and geography, science, and math to solve problems, and find their way out of the desert.

According to James Nickels, the project gave rising seventh and eight graders preparation for the type of academic work they could expect in the coming school year.

“The intent was to work with the students who will be in pre-AP,” said Nickels, a science teacher at Waller, “and give them an idea of the higher expectations they will have as they prepare for high school.”

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