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Global Education

Model UN at UNCG Hosts 20 Middle Schools; Dual Language Schools Address Water Scarcity

Middle school students from across North Carolina will address the challenge of worldwide water scarcity—while speaking entirely in Spanish—during Participate Learning’s Model UN in Greensboro on Tuesday, March 28.

More than 300 North Carolina middle school students and teachers will gather at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) for the Model UN, the showcase event for schools using Conexiones, a dual language program designed for middle schools by Participate Learning.

Students at Conexiones schools prepare for the Model UN by studying the year’s topic, devising potential solutions to the problem, and preparing to address each other in Spanish with the goal of agreeing on actions and resolutions.

“The Model UN combines the key goals of Conexiones: enabling middle school students to grow in their bilingualism while learning critical problem-solving skills that will prepare them for their future careers,” said Jason Straus, Conexiones product manager at Participate Learning. 

In addition to the 16 North Carolina schools traveling to UNCG for the event, three schools will attend virtually, including one from Virginia and one from Bogota, Colombia. 

All students are assigned countries to represent at the Model UN. Each country has unique strengths and challenges with relation to the topic of water scarcity, and the students have prepared opening statements representing their assigned country’s position. After the opening statements, students will spend more than an hour in “Ambassador Activity,” time to discuss—in Spanish—potential solutions to be voted as resolutions in the final session.

The main sessions start at 12:40 p.m. and will be held in the University Auditorium in the Elliott University Center. Students will be able to take advantage of a wide range of activities starting at 10:30 a.m. in the Cone Ballroom, also in the Elliott University Center.

Conexiones, developed by Participate Learning, is designed to ensure continued growth in Spanish language proficiency while preparing students for more challenging work in high school. Currently, there are 33 Conexiones schools in North Carolina and Virginia, with more adding the program for the 2023-24 school year.

One Conexiones school planning to attend the Model UN at UNCG is the International School at Gregory in Wilmington. Paola Weimann, a Participate Learning exchange teacher from Argentina, plans to bring 32 students who have been preparing for months and even took a trip to their local water treatment facility as part of those preparations.

“The best thing about Conexiones is that students have impactful learning experiences, and they learn a second language at the same time,” Weimann said.

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