The path to enhanced project based learning

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Inquiry is the personal path of questioning, investigating, and reasoning that takes us from not knowing to knowing

Michelle Ma Professional Development I

Last Friday Middle School Mandarin instructor, Michelle Ma, attended the PBL (Project Based Learning) workshop held by NWAIS at University Prep in Seattle. This workshop was designed to show how PBL can be used to help students be deep thinkers, serve their communities, and become global citizens. An interesting part of the learning was the concept “The product is not the project.” An example given at the workshop was Chicago Peacekeepers. While studying the U.S. Constitution and learning about the second amendment, a group of seventh grade students collected data on gun violence in their own neighborhood – West Humboldt Park in Chicago. The statistics, showing high numbers of fatalities near the school, and their own personal experiences with violence compelled them to take action. They decided to complete two projects: a citywide “Day of Peace” event and writing a book to honor the stories of local citizens working for peace.

The question from Scott Hartl, Expeditionary Learning, educators were encouraged to consider was “Who’s the real audience for the work your students are producing? That can be a world-opening question.” Michelle was also inspired by the video you will find by clicking here.  It shows how a physics teacher designed an interdisciplinary project by cooperating with a P.E. teacher. The project demonstrates the practical application of the physical concept–“projectiles” in basketball players free-throws.