Project Based Learning
Investigating and Responding
Project Based Learning is a student-centered approach that encourages children to make meaningful connections across content areas. Teachers act as facilitators, guiding students to identify a question or real-world problem. Student interest and decision-making drives the learning.
Project Based Learning Process
Each project begins with a question or problem. Using 21st century skills like collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving. By starting with an essential question, children work together to develop a solution to the problem using evidence to support their claim. Students create a plan and begin the process of researching and solving the problem.
After reaching a conclusion or solution, students then communicate the solutions and demonstrate their knowledge by using various forms of media to create a product or presentation for a real audience.
Finally, taking time to reflect, individually and as a group, and to share feelings and experiences is an important piece to this process. Allowing students to discuss what worked well, what needs change, and to share ideas can lead to new questions and projects.
Project Based Learning allows for student choice, decision making, collaboration, and self-reflection. When children are interested in what they are doing and are able to use their areas of strength, they achieve at a higher level.
During the unit on Community, we work on a project inspired by the book Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran. Students research types of communities and discuss and debate what makes a community successful, including things like diversity, working together, needs versus wants. As a culminating activity, students use what they have learned to create, build, and write about their own model community.
Students studying inventors chose to create inventions for the “classroom of the future.” They brainstormed ideas of classroom gadgets, furniture, and learning tools that would help them learn better and/or be more comfortable in the classroom.
Each student chose an invention idea of personal interest and researched whether something similar already existed, how it might be created, whether it would be helpful. They designed prototypes of their new invention and wrote a descriptive advertisements to “sell” their product to others.
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