I thought I might share some of the amazing student work from our “Passion Projects” in term 4 last year, a project-based learning unit. The staff were blown away by the quality of student projects, and by the amount of learning involved. Parents provided extremely positive feedback, telling me that the whole family got involved and enjoyed the process immensely. Student learning was apparent in the documentation of their weekly reflections in their wikis on the Ultranet. It was a fantastic unit that the students really enjoyed, and the powerful learning experiences they had mean that I will definitely be looking further into project-based learning. This project resulted in a much higher rate of student completion, with students very excited about having choice over what their project focussed on. The result, as you can see in these photos, is extremely high achievement as well as high engagement for students in their learning.
One grade 6 girl designed and made this dress. She had photos of every step of the dress-making process, from buying the materials to measurements, fabric types etc. She wore this dress to her grade 6 graduation ceremony.
A grade 6 boy designed and constructed this board game, complete with instruction and rule booklet, dice and playing pieces.
These little creatures are the characters from a student’s clay-mation movie. He submitted scripts and story boards also.
A grade 5 girl constructed a model of her perfect bedroom. She made the furniture out of a dough consisting of salt and flour, baked it in the oven and painted it.
This surfboard was constructed by a grade 5 girl with some help from her dad. The frame is chicken wire and it is coated with papier mache. She made several brand designs before choosing this one, and it is painted on with metallic paint. She had photographic evidence of all step of the making of her model surfboard and brand.
A grade 5 girl created a model of the solar system, complete with Christmas lights for stars. She documented her learning on the Ultranet class wiki, and also shared her learning of fire hazards when Christmas lights get too close to cardboard for prolonged periods of time.
Other projects not included here include videos of designing the perfect skate park, a “how to make a stop-motion video” video, a model rocket ship, a fully scripted and filmed puppet show performed in a stage constructed by the student, and more.
As a teacher I found that my role was of a facilitator, drawing out the learning within each step of the students’ projects with discussion and questioning. The students enjoyed blogging their progress and loved receiving comments from others in the grade. They supported each other with ongoing positive feedback. Parent involvement was the highest it had been all year, and I had many parents come and see me to tell me how much they enjoyed being involved in their child’s learning, and how much they learned themselves.
This is how student learning should – and could – be: engaging, related to their interests, involving their families and with the teacher facilitating as they explore and learn in their own ways.