It’s Full STEAM Ahead for Our K-12 Arcology Curriculum

by Alyssa Lutker, AmeriCorps VISTA

On November 30th, a collaborative program between the Cosanti Foundation and Paradise Valley School District was successfully completed with a class field trip to Cosanti. 

Through the hard work of Norm Pratt, the Cosanti Foundation’s Director of Education, and Michael Linn, a Paradise Valley fifth grade teacher, a six-week educational program was designed and implemented in two fifth grade classrooms this Fall. 

The program, titled Cosanti Foundation: Exploring the Apse, teaches students “how arcology addresses alternative ways of designing buildings and cities as a solution to urban sprawl and the negative effects it has on our environment and ecology” Pratt said. 

Ecological accountability and demonstrative resourcefulness were two of the central arcology principles touched on in the educational program. Experiential learning also played a strong role in the program as the students learned about Paolo Soleri’s innovative architecture and earth casting techniques used at Cosanti and Arcosanti. This included scientific discussion about Soleri’s passive solar element design with a special focus on the science behind the apse.

In addition, this program supports three Next Generation Science Standards. One of which is focused on “how natural and human-caused changes to habitats or climate can impact populations”. 

The Cosanti Foundation provided Paradise Valley fifth grade teachers, Michael Linn and Marlo Johnson, with lesson plans, activities, content resources, and introductory videos for each of the six modules. Pratt also visited the classrooms to speak with the students directly and answer questions. 

The six weeks ended with a special visit to Cosanti by Linn and Johnson’s students. They were given a special tour led by Pratt, which prepared them for a final test on the subject and gave them the opportunity to ask any questions surrounding the history and mission of the project. 


“I think Cosanti is an interesting place where kids and adults alike learn and get inspiration,” said a student.

One of the 5th grade classes that visited Cosanti as part of a 6-week module.


With the completion of the program, one student said the tour was “a jaw dropping experience” and another student said that “once you start researching about Cosanti, you cannot stop, because there is so much to learn.”

The Cosanti Foundation is excited to see this program succeed and looks forward to continuing to develop educational opportunities for K-12 students and teachers. 

As a student put it: “Cosanti is an interesting place where kids and adults alike learn and get inspiration.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. 

To support more arcology educational programming, make a donation here.

To schedule your own tour of Cosanti, go here.

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