This resulted in students being engaged and immersed in investigating highly targeted real-life phenomena by working collaboratively in groups to explore, study, analyze and report on them. Students in one kindergarten class learned about the weather and data collection, and presented their findings in the form of a live weather newscast video. Fifth grade students at GPBXE studied the costs to travel to different cities and neighboring towns across the country, compared them, and explained their findings through postcards to the respective towns and to parents. The fourth grade students in Ms. Champagne’s class studied accident data from USDOT, designed safety features for their miniature model vehicles, and tested them with egg-crash challenges in front of a live audience.
Numerous other projects dotted Public Prep classrooms all of December. Students’ learning was focused on them honing their innate skills to investigate, to collaborate, analyze and to make presentations, with some opportunities to apply common core math, science, literacy, and artistic skills as well. Students went home and spoke to their parents about how they were excited to come back to school the next day to work on their projects. It was unconventional but in the end a great deal of learning occurred for our scholars, the kind that lights a spark. The next PBL unit is in spring and it will be exciting to see how students and teachers keep that spark lit.