Featured PBL: The South's Civil War Submarine, the H.L. Hunley
Project Based Learning is getting some traction now that the era of No Child Left Behind is over. Increasing numbers of educators are (re)realizing that authentic learning is of utmost importance in our kids’ lives, and as educators, we’re hungry to do right by our kids. We want them to be learners, not simply “students” who know how to play the game to get the grade. We also know that high marks (or low marks) on a grade card do not truly indicate the extent of learning and growth that a student has achieved (or not). We also know that developing skills such as time management, collaboration, prioritizing information/tasks, persistence, and work ethic does not come from tightly scripted lesson plans.
Our children deserve the chance to authentically practice those life skills on a daily basis and Project Based Learning allows us to provide that rich environment of growth for our Learners.
For a half-decade I worked alongside my students, their parents, and a wonderful set of colleagues, including Kevin Honeycutt as my PBL partner, to create precisely that type of rich learning environment. We found ways to integrate all content areas, and create mashups of age levels based on interests and readiness levels instead of basing learning simply upon kids’ date of manufacture. We devoured research. We studied our own action research. We interviewed parents and students and created the school of our dreams. And when I reluctantly left that school to travel my next path, Kevin and I began writing down our work to create the LifePractice PBL recipe cards to help others find their way along the path.
We’ve created 6 sets of “recipe cards” (with 7 recipes per set) for educators who are new to PBL. These recipe cards can guide their learning and their kids’ learning as traditional core classes are integrated and students learn by doing. However, these cards aren’t just for newbies. Just as a someone new to cooking might follow a recipe very closely, an experienced cook might also use the very same recipe card as inspiration as she add her own flavors and style to the original dish. And each project is designed so each project can be used in Elementary, Middle, or High School classrooms, depending upon the complexity and depth of information that the students are ready to tackle.
Today, we’re giving away one free sample card for you to look at and try with your students. At first glance, the project may look like a project for a Social Studies classroom, but if you look closer, it’s an engineering problem. It’s also a research project. It’s also an art project. It’s also…whatever your educator’s heart wants to use it as.
The card is designed so that the “ingredients” are the core content areas and the questions you might ask your students to guide their minds as they learn. You might also find that you have other questions you’d like to add. Go right ahead! You know your students and your content area. Mix it up!
When you download this card (did I mention that it’s FREE today?) you’ll also see the back of the card where, just like a recipe card, you have tips and ideas for implementing the project at each step, from the planning, to the launch, to how to group students, to final ideas for their presentations.
And if you’re reading this blog post after the free window is closed, don’t worry! There are several ways you can always download our free sample card set that holds other great projects having to do with Vikings, the Apollo 13 Space Mission, and Lewis and Clark.
And you might consider following LifePractice PBL on Facebook because very, very soon, we’ll be offering other great LifePractice PBL recipe cards for free download.
But if you like what you see, why wait? Why not just buy your favorite sets now and have them all?
Thanks for reading this overt advertisement. Honestly, Kevin and I both believe that Project Based Learning (and it’s advanced-level cousin, Problem-Based Learning) are a great way for all kids to learn. And I promise not to turn this blog into a commercial advertisement. 🙂