Intellectual Virtues Academy: Public High School

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Student Projects » Meaning and Purpose Project

Meaning and Purpose Project

Essential Question
What gives my life meaning and purpose? 
Project Description

This project asks students to reflect on the person they are, the person they hope to become, and why. To complete this project thoughtfully students should be asking these questions:


“What are the things, people, experiences, beliefs, values, dreams, etc. that help me (or will help me) lead a meaningful, purposeful life?”


“How have these shaped the person that I am?”


“What have they taught me about living meaningfully? How have they contributed to my sense of purpose?”



Compete one item for each of the following concepts:

  1. Experience: What is something that has happened to you (positive or negative) that has impacted the person you are? How did this contribute to your a sense of purpose or meaningfulness?
  2. Model: Who is an influential person whose life impacts your own understanding of how to lead a meaningful, purposeful life?
  3. Belief / Value: What is some central belief or value that is crucial to living with meaning and purpose?
  4. Object: What is some object that connects to your life in a meaningful way or has contributed to your sense of purpose?
  5. Goal / Dream: What do you hope to achieve, become, or accomplish that would make your life feel meaningful or give you a sense of purpose?

Use at least three different methods to present examples of these concepts.

  1. Artistic expression: Paint something. Draw us a picture. Write a verse. Sing a song. Sculpt. Act out a monologue. Present an example in any artistic medium. Be able to explain how it reflects the examples.  
  2. Narrative: Write me a short story, fiction or nonfiction, that illustrates an example.
  3. Slides / Poster: Provide detailed information on a google slide or poster that helps us understand one of your examples.
  4. Interview: Write and conduct a detailed interview of a person that helps us understand her/his/their influence.
  5. Video: Make us a video that somehow conveys the importance of one of your examples.
  6. Philosophical explanation: Write us a brief (less than one page) explanation of how an example affected you and contributed to your understanding of meaningfulness or purpose.
Author: Mr. Dustin Schmidt
Grade: 9th and 10th
Subject: Philosophy, Humanities 
"My model is my little brother. He is my model because he makes me want to be a better model for him. This painting represents how active, adventurous, and open he is towards everything. He doesn't exactly follow the rules, which is also true of abstract paintings; but, because of this, abstract paintings and my brother are able to be flexible and authentic, which I admire." 
I don't have a brain
I don't have a heart
I don't always finish
what I start
you control me
and what I do
My limitless power
Is only unlimited to you
What I can create
Can have more power than
You ever imagined
I can make anything
Powerful speeches
To mystical dragons...
So just pat me
On a paper and see
What happens
I might just be an ordinary pencil
But to you
I'm magic
"Not dwell, live in the present, move forward...confront and overcome. These paintings are an abstract way of representing the past and present. These explain how I felt in each of those timelines. It also explains what happened in the past that helped me learn so much and shaped me into the person I am."