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Elementary Visionaries: What Will School of the Future Look Like?

In the spirit of exploring 'what if' scenarios, cartoonist and WID Discovery Fellow Lynda Barry asked second-graders what schools will look like in 100 years. Castles, spaceships and even some Halloween-inspired visions crop up.

Counterfactual Campus art photo by Lynda Barry

Our Counterfactual Campus kickoff has us pondering about the future. By doing some deep thinking (counterfactually, by the way), we’re daring to imagine the campus 100 years from now. What if going to class consisted of rolling out of bed and logging on to a computer?

To get answers, cartoonist and WID Discovery Fellow Lynda Barry visited second-graders from Mr. Cushman’s class at Franklin Elementary School in Madison, Wis., to gather their visions for the future of schools. From candy paradises to innovative spaceships, students weighed in.

Counterfactual Campus art photo by Lynda Barry

 

Artist statement: “The classrooms will be inside rockets that can go in the air and under the water.”

 

Counterfactual Campus art photo by Lynda Barry


“It will be haunted, so we will have to study at night.”

 

Counterfactual Campus art photo by Lynda Barry

 

“You will have to be really smart to get in because none of the doors will be doors and none of the windows will be windows, and there will be many suns and moons all out at the same time.”

 

Counterfactual Campus art photo by Lynda Barry

 

“The building will be so high up in the sky, 10, 20, 30 miles high, and you will have to float in a balloon to get to your class. And there will be thousands and thousands of classrooms, and it will go up to the 40th grade and the 80th grade.”

 

Counterfactual Campus art photo by Lynda Barry

 

“It will be in some caves in the side of a mountain, and the principal will be in the basement watching everything on a computer, and there will be gymnastics.”

 

Counterfactual Campus art photo by Lynda Barry

 

“Everything in the class turns to candy when you come in. The teachers are candy and the students are candy. The desks are candy, and then everything is back to normal.”

 

Counterfactual Campus art photo by Lynda Barry

 

“It’s all underwater. You take an underwater school bus, and you swim to the door of the school and food is floating around, and you just swim to your hamburger.”

 

Counterfactual Campus art photo by Lynda Barry

 

“Half pink and half orange.”

 

Counterfactual Campus art photo by Lynda Barry

 

“The school will be very small, and you have to shrink down very tiny to go inside. And there are books and when you open them a person’s head comes out and tells you what is in the book. And there are floating desks so when you and your partner need to work on a project you just float to a part of the room. And there will be trees in the room with bananas all over them and a swimming pool of blood and eyeballs for the scientists to experiment with.”

 

Counterfactual Campus art photo by Lynda Barry

 

“Tall, tall buildings with many many classrooms. You have to parachute to get out.”

 

Counterfactual Campus art photo by Lynda Barry

 

“There will be giant steel tents for the school with a lot of windows, and they will have the playground on top and there will be an elevator to the playground.”

 

Counterfactual Campus art photo by Lynda Barry

 

“Well, I think it probably has to be a castle.”

 

Counterfactual Campus art photo by Lynda Barry

 

Part 1: “It’s up in the clouds. You go in a door and inside there are desks that can go to the ceiling then when you are done with school you go out of a spring at the top and you fly back home.”

 

Counterfactual Campus art photo by Lynda Barry

 

Part 2: “It’s up in the clouds. You go in a door and inside there are desks that can go to the ceiling then when you are done with school you go out of a spring at the top and you fly back home.”

 

Counterfactual Campus art photo by Lynda Barry

 

 

“Well it’s a volcano school and it erupts to get the students out. And every color is a classroom. And every student has this machine that can turn into a desk or a bed or a cafeteria or a pumpkin patch. Whatever you need, it turns into. And there is an automatic sun that has cables that connect to the school for the power.”

 

Counterfactual Campus art photo by Lynda Barry

 

“This is an underwater school that you take a ladder to. The ladder is in a tube so you can breathe. There are tubes in and out and a waterslide. And there is a school for fish in there, too. It’s complicated how they get inside. And there is an auditorium for movies and a cafeteria. And at the very bottom is the playground and there are plants that eat plastic.”

 

Counterfactual Campus art photo by Lynda Barry

 

“It will be in the sea and in the air. And there will be airholes at the top of the class then under the water there is the shop and the teleporter and the cafeteria and the chute that the garbage goes up and lands on a barge. And under that is the dorms and an aquarium for you to learn to how swim in.”

 

Counterfactual Campus art photo by Lynda Barry

 

“This is gianter than it looks. The tubes are a mile. You float in them to get to the different rooms. Every class has a different shape. There’s 10,000 classrooms.”

 

Counterfactual Campus art photo by Lynda Barry

 

“It’s haunted and there’s traps everywhere. If you are not a student and you try to go in things fall on you. Boulders fall on you.”

 

Counterfactual Campus art photo by Lynda Barry

 

“This has tubes with stairs in them that are very icy but also can heat up to 18,432 degrees Fahrenheit, which means your flesh would come off. This is the death school in the future.”

 

Counterfactual Campus art photo by Lynda Barry

“It’s in a mountain and the mountain has holes in it, and the class is in the holes and all of the students are in there. And there are no teachers because the sun is the teacher of everybody.”

 


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