Sunday, October 27, 2013

EDIM 502 Project-Based Learning -This is How They Did It

EDIM 502 Project-Based Learning Blog Entry 1
Here are my results of my exploration of three ideal models of project-based learning listed below:

"More Fun Than a Barrel of . . . Worms?!" - Diane Curtis, Edutopia 

"Geometry Students
Angle into Architecture Through Project Learning" - Sara Armstrong, Edutopia

"March of the Monarchs: Students Follow the Butterflies' Migration" 
- Diane Curtis, Edutopia
The “More Fun” model surveyed many project-based learning endeavors at Newsome Park Elementary School (K-5) in Newport News, VA. Students were inspired from the ground up - worms, flower sales, wrestling to stock market investing. The “Angle” model followed a multi-layered project with geometry students of Mountlake Terrace High School near Seattle, WA, designing school architecture of the future. The third sample trailed 3rd grade students of Rockledge Elementary School in Maryland, as they tracked migrating monarch butterflies in a countrywide science experiment.
In all three of these successful, exciting project-based learning templates, the academic, social, and creative needs of the students were a top priority. There was considerable planning on the part of lead instructors who took the role of project managers but these facilitators called in the experts as well. There was cooperation among colleagues, various student groups, administrators, and needed technology available. The students took on the role of team members, investigators, scientists, and designers and were accountable to their team and the project. To manage and assess accountability, each project had checkpoints; check-ins, signed agreements and/or rubrics to allow students and teachers to easily track progress. There was investment and reward in finding answers, creative solutions, raising money for a cause, collaborating with experts, and sharing projects with the community at large. Students and teachers were investors in real-life learning, inspiring passions and knowledge for the future.
Student engagement was increased because they were given active roles and visual imagery linked to written work. The students directed their own inquiries with digital tools connecting students to real-life, their peers, and the world. The critical inquiries delved deep into instructional standards surpassing the instructional goals. Students remembered what they learned because they were engaged in the questions and the answers driving the projects. There were multiple and varied assessments and reflections for both students and teachers to increase achievement. Pressure was relieved because the entire project is in the hands of teams members who were accountable and invested but did not have everything resting on one person’s shoulders. Student achievement in project-based learning has been tracked through traditional and standardized tests showing impressive results. As an artist and art educator, I was impressed by achievement in 2 and 3 dimensional models created by students and their contribution to assessment throughout the projects. Teachers are given support through an edublogging community to collaborate and share knowledge. I found some great “free” resources and rubrics at the Buck Institute education website. It is often said we learn by doing and Project-Based Learning when supported and properly implemented proves the statement true. Collaborating and sharing pays it forward.

Armstrong, S. (2002). Geometry students angle into architecture through project learning. Edutopia.

Boss, S. & Krauss, J. (2007). Reinventing Project-Based Learning: Your Field Guide to Real-World Projects in the Digital Age, p. 3-5.

Buck Institute for Education: Project Based Learning for the 21st Century. (2013). Tools: Freebies. Buck Institute for Education. Retrieved from

Curtis, D. (2002). March of the monarchs: Students follow the butterflies’ migration. Edutopia. Retrieved

Curtis, D. (2001). More fun than a barrel of…worms?!. Edutopia. Retrieved from

No comments:

Post a Comment