What If 101

In-school class

What If 101 (WI101) is a school-based program that connects middle school students to their community by walking them through the Liberatory Design Thinking process to challenge them to see themselves as community leaders.  What If 101 leverages the best of project-based, problem-based, and place-based learning in ways that unlock middle schoolers’ innate altruism.


Using real-world topics as its landscape, What If 101 explores the needs of students’ local community, instructs them in real-world research and project management skills, and allows students to practice social-emotional competencies and 21st-century skills through developing, pitching, and enacting their own ideas.


What If 101 aligns with the Ohio Department of Education’s Social Emotional Learning (SEL) standards and can be incorporated one day a week in an existing classroom.

Interested in bringing What If 101 to your school? 

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Project-Based Implementation of SEL

Using the latest research from sources such as CASEL and Buck Institute for Education, and by collaborating with local community partners across industries such as city government, parks and recreation, libraries, small businesses, and nonprofits, we provide opportunities for students to practice SEL skills including empathy, self-awareness, responsible decision-making, and social awareness.


Student Autonomy

We honor students’ perspectives and input. While we design the framework for our projects, students lead the way. They get the opportunity to explore topics and parts of the community they’re passionate about. 


Inquiry-Based Community Connection

We cultivate curiosity in our students and provide opportunities for them to share their ideas to authentic audiences of interested community members. 

Sponsors to date, Spring 2024




Cohort Sponsors








Experience Sponsors







Interested in Sponsorship Opportunities?

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Past and Present Partnering Schools