Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Project Based Learning

What is Project Based Learning (PBL)?
Project Based Learning or PBL for short, is a learning process that has been proven to be an effective and enjoyable way to understand new information. PBL is when students research a topic for an extended period of time and cover these basics: This allows the kids to take responsibility for their own education, and find what works best for them through these certain aspects of the Project Based Learning process.  
•Students need to accomplish the following, in order to be on track with PBL•
  • “Key Knowledge, Understanding, and Success Skills - The project is focused on student learning goals, including standards-based content and skills such as critical thinking/problem solving, collaboration, and self-management.
  • Challenging Problem or Question - The project is framed by a meaningful problem to solve or a question to answer, at the appropriate level of challenge.
  • Sustained Inquiry - Students engage in a rigorous, extended process of asking questions, finding resources, and applying information.
  • Authenticity - The project features real-world context, tasks and tools, quality standards, or impact – or speaks to students’ personal concerns, interests, and issues in their lives.
  • Student Voice & Choice - Students make some decisions about the project, including how they work and what they create.
  • Reflection - Students and teachers reflect on learning, the effectiveness of their inquiry and project activities, the quality of student work, obstacles and how to overcome them.
  • Critique & Revision - Students give, receive, and use feedback to improve their process and products.
  • Public Product - Students make their project work public by explaining, displaying and/or presenting it to people beyond the classroom.” (Source: bie.org)
Research has found these ways to be the most effective because it keeps the students more involved in the learning process than traditional methods. This means that students stay more engaged, it connects students with real world situations; and provides the teachers with a more enjoyable and rewarding teaching process. More information can be found at BIE.Org.
What is Buck Institute for Education (BIE)?
BIE is an institute that believes that education is more than just new information being thrown at you. They believe that this knowledge needs to have something done to it, rather than just in one ear and out the other. Their goal is to help the teachers around the world better prepare themselves to teach their classrooms through this idea of PBL. BIE allows the teachers to have a more hands-on learning system and allows the kids to get immersed in their learning.
For more information about the BIE program, scan the QR code below, or go to the following website to better understand the BIE’s mission statement.
    or      BIE's 25th Anniversary Video
What is PBL here at Pond Cove Elementary School?
Here at Pond Cove, we started a project called “Green Homes (PBL)”. It is our very first PBL in Pond Cove. This project was created to help kids understand the fundamentals of building and architecture at a young age. We used the new PBL system of learning and the four C’s: communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity to accomplish our goals. We also made sure to tie all of the PBL lessons to standards from the Common Core and NextGen.
The kids started this project with sorting a collection of 40 different kinds of houses into whatever categories they found fitting. This helped the kids understand how to distinguish homes from one another. We soon transitioned into the understanding of why houses look the way the look, and why they function the way they function. We compared sizes in houses ranging from a 20,000 square foot mansion to a 120 square foot home. This taught kids the difference between want and need based homes. (Understanding, Key Knowledge, and Successful Skills; & Authenticity).
Next, the kids dove into their own design process. They started with the Bubble Sketching Process, and slowly advanced to developing what they wanted in their own houses through research. As the kids would work, many different obstacles would be thrown their way. Just like a real architect would get new last minute requests by the owner of the home, the kids got requests thrown in as they worked. This kept the kids working on task and staying productive in order to get the job done on time. (Sustained Inquiry, Authenticity & Students Voice and Choice)
Throughout the design process, many different professionals came in to talk to the kids about certain aspects of their homes they may not know about. For example, Mr. Curran, a local architect so kindly came in to talk to the kids about the design process and blueprints. Revision Energy also came in to talk to the kids about possible solar panels they may want on top their homes, in order to make them eco-friendly. Finally, the Code Enforcement Officer from Cape Elizabeth came in to talk to our students about building code in Cape. (Challenging Problem and Questions, & Authenticity)
The students soon transferred their 2D designs onto the 3D scheme of things and began to design their ideas through the ArcKit’s. This gave them a 3D visual of how their homes would look. The tool SketchUp allows the ArcKit’s to be viewed in 3D on the computer. The physical pieces we have in the ArcKit’s are available in the digital warehouse on the computers. So the students are building with the same pieces they have been using. (Critique and Revision)

After this whole process, we would throw even more challenges at them, and we told them to do the whole thing again, only this time with a partner. This ensured that they knew what they were doing, and allowed them to practice it one more time. After all of this was completed, the students got to choose one of the rooms that they designed to move into 3D SketchUp and get 3D printed. Finally, the students will give their very own public presentations on the whole project. (Public Product & Reflection)
Tessa - Mr. Charltrays lackey aka Cape HS Senior

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