Culminations and Passion Projects at MUSE Global School

Culminations and Passion Projects - MUSE Global School

What’s your passion? Perhaps it’s photography, cooking, or maybe you’re an arctophile. Regardless, imagine spending the next few months studying the world through the lens of that passion, then sharing what you’ve learned with your family, friends, and peers, relating these learning methods to other academic areas.

That’s the opportunity MUSE Global students get at the end of each semester, during an event we call culminations. To truly understand this exciting tradition, you must first learn its impetus: the passion project.

It starts with passion

Passion-based learning is a teaching method that fosters an environment where students look forward to learning and are engaged, inspired, and motivated. The parents of new students are often surprised when their child’s predictable one-word response to the question “how was school” suddenly transforms into an exciting, in-depth discussion.

The key to its effectiveness is the passion project. Each semester, students identify their passion, and while many factors influence a student’s choice, age and grade are the most significant.

Popular options by grade level include:

  • Elementary School: Lego, baseball, rockets
  • Middle School: interior design, French cooking, guitar
  • High School: classical music, chemistry, Jiujitsu

After they make their choice, each subject in their course-load filters through that passion. Suppose a student selects music, they may decide to research the role of mathematics in creating rhythm, the science behind the eardrum transforming invisible vibrating frequencies into sound, and the undeniable influence of music on cultures throughout history.

Community support

Our community plays an essential role in our passion-based learning program. It’s one thing for a student to read about their passion but speaking with an expert in the field adds an entirely new depth to their studies. It offers students a look at the bigger picture, helping them connect their choices with the world outside the classroom. Many times, support from the community takes the form of mentorships, interviews, or even internships. Our MUSE Global School parent community is even extremely supportive to students, offering up advice or guidance if they work in one of our student’s passions.


By the end of the semester, after many hours of studying, lots of hard work, and weeks perfecting their presentations, students are eager to share what they’ve learned. Not only will they present their passion projects, but they’ll also touch on all their project-based work. Standing before peers, family, teachers, and friends, students discuss their experience, how their passion connects to the world, and what they were surprised to learn on their journey.

For educators, this method of testing has benefits. Instead of evaluating a student’s ability to memorize facts for an exam, it more accurately demonstrates their comprehension of the material. Culminations and passion projects also provide a unique and authentic assessment of a student’s growth and development from semester to semester and year to year. Without fully realizing it, students demonstrate various skills, including research methods, interdisciplinary academic learning, written and verbal communication, design, time management, and an ability to collaborate with a group. This all happens through the lens of areas that excite each student, so they don’t feel so much pressure throughout the learning and evaluation process.

Connecting with our principles

Like everything at MUSE, passion projects and culminations are built on our five pillars of learning. Here’s how each pillar connects:

  1. Academics: Through research, students learn and explain the connection between their passions and core subjects, including math, science, language arts, social studies, and history.
  2. Passion-Based Learning: As mentioned before, passion-based learning is the educational framework that houses the project and the presentation.
  3. Self-Efficacy: To be successful, students must believe in themselves and their ability to be resourceful and persistent.
  4. Communication: While working with peers, speaking with experts, and presenting their findings during culminations, students must successfully use verbal and nonverbal communication skills.
  5. Sustainability: Our students are solution-oriented thinkers, especially regarding environmental issues and conservation. This may take the form of doing research on campus since our school is 100% solar-powered or making a conscious effort to avoid wasting paper by taking notes on tablets.

Teachers and parents alike find that culminations and passion projects inspire and motivate students, encouraging them to take ownership of their education. In addition, it can lead to a newfound appreciation for their passion and even reveal a career path they’ve never considered. The most important thing is that each student uses these experiences to develop academically, grow as people, and work toward a successful future.

Ready to learn more about MUSE Global School in Calabasas, CA? If so, we’d love to speak with you – please don’t hesitate to reach out today, or explore our academic programs here.




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