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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Entry Events for All Grade Levels

Entry Events for All Grade Levels

Related Tags: Project-Based Learning
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My blog post today about PBL entry events has sparked a question about good ways to launch projects with elementary students. Let's pool our thinking here and come up with more ideas to get projects off to a good start, at all grade levels. The question about elementary students reminds me of a wonderful story that Sylvia Chard, Canadian educator and author, shares about The Boat Project. In a nutshell, first- and second-graders hatched the idea to build a boat--"a real boat"--after they explored learning stations about the ocean. Their teacher was wise enough to notice their curiosity about boats and shifted her instructional plan accordingly. It's all about giving children opportunities to explore their world and then helping them focus big questions into inquiry experiences. For another example of a project involving primary students, check out this video about some motivated young pilots: http://www.edutopia.org/kindergarten-project-based-learning-video What else have you tried to launch a project? Please share your ideas for entry events in the comments. (Here's the blog post from the Summer PD series: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/summer-pd-starting-projects-suzie-boss)

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Matthew Sears's picture
Matthew Sears
Program Director at NC New Schools Project

Greetings all! Having just left the classroom after 3.5 years of wall-to-wall mathematics, here's brief rundown of some of the many project launches we did:

  • Video call for help in setting up walking tour routes of Durham, NC for visitors of our model school (a friend of mind performed from our script)
  • A letter from a nursing home describing a need that had for robotic monitoring of hallways (Computer Science robot project)
  • Hand students a grant application. In our case it was a the Fiskars Community Garden Grant (http://www2.fiskars.com/Activities/Project-Orange-Thumb) Students would write the grant and supporting images/documents then submit (Geometry)
  • Accident report: Students read the grizzly details of a car accident they were going to investigate (Algebra 2)

Looking forward to seeing others ideas!!!

Amy Erin Borovoy (aka VideoAmy)'s picture
Amy Erin Borovoy (aka VideoAmy)
Senior Manager of Video Programming, Production, & Curation at Edutopia
Staff

Great ideas!

Here are a few entry events in Edutopia videos in case you'd like a visual...

Teacher giving dramatic intro: Engineering Success: Students Build Understanding

Guest speaker (in costume!): Students Carve Cultural Connections -- and a Canoe

There are lots more examples in the Edutopia Video Library!

CLautenbach's picture
CLautenbach
Director of Elementary Programs, Godfrey-Lee Public Schools, Wyoming, MI

One way to implement PBL at any grade level is student-led conferencing. Whether this is in lieu of teacher-led conferences or in addition to, the planning, goal-setting, and presentation elements make it an entry level project that teachers, parents, and students find meaningful.

Darci Sosa's picture

Last year I did a challenge based learning project with my 5th graders. I challenged them to improve how and what they eat. This year, if I do the project again (they are changing my placement so I may have the same students...) I will show the movie SuperSize Me (educational version) to them at the beginning of the project and, using various activities, allow students to decide exactly HOW they will improve. Last year some kids looked at eating more locally and lowering their carbon footprint, some of them came up with ways to eliminate certain foods and replace them with healthier choices. The key for them was having very concrete examples to bounce from...

Maddy's picture
Maddy
Educational consultant NYC

I used many of Professor Bernie Dodge's excellent ideas in PBL but with s many rules and regulations and test phobia it is hard t be creative when thay is not the current way of thinking.

cheri's picture
cheri
high school teacher

do you have an outline of the eating improvement pbl
thanks

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