Project Based Learning (PBL) is a student-centered pedagogy in which students gain knowledge and skills by investigating and responding to a complex question, problem or challenge.
The project focuses on teaching students significant content whilst engaging them in a rigorous process of in-depth inquiry. Students build 21st century competencies of critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration, communication and creativity and innovation.
PBL is an effective and enjoyable way to learn by engaging students’ hearts and minds in real–world, relevant discovery learning. The active participation in high quality meaningful work results in deeper and retained understanding with students confident to take responsibility of their learning and independently being able to apply this knowledge to new situations.
The real joy of learning is being re-discovered!
Year 7 PBL
Year 10 PBL – NACFest
In Terms 3 and 4 2013, Year 10 English students undertook a project-based learning task. ‘NACFest 2013’ was the inaugural Year 10 student short film festival. In small teams students devised, wrote, storyboarded, shot, edited and promoted short films, which were then shown on the big screen at Huskisson Pictures cinema in late November. As well as developing English skills of thematic and creative writing and applying knowledge of visual literacy, students developed valuable skills of communication, collaboration and problem-solving. The student films included teen dramas, comedies, thrillers, ‘mockumentaries’ and more. Additionally the sold-out festival also had the real-world purpose of raising funds for the students’ 2014 service expedition to Vietnam and Cambodia. After costs, ticket sales from the event raised over $1400 for this cause. The film festival was a popular success; it is intended that this will become an annual project for Year 10 English.
Year 4 PBL
During Term 2 Year 4 have been enjoying a PBL experience focusing on the importance of preserving the knowledge and skills of previous generations. The unit is called BLAST from the Past – Using Hands and Wool.
We contact Ken Merrifield from Shoalhaven Heads Mens’ Shed to seek assistance in making wooden knitting spools and wooden weaving looms. The men form the Heads created 48 knitting spools and 26 weaving looms for us.
We have had a visit from Liz Taylor from the Berry Spinners and Weavers Association. Liz demonstrated the process of collecting wool from a sheep, carding it and spinning the fibres into wool. She then shared with us the skill of crocheting and how to use the wool.
Mrs Pearson, Head of Junior School also shared her knitting skills and knowledge with the students.
Mrs Keilly from Berry Sew and Tell has demonstrated how to use the knitting spools made by the men from Shoalhaven Heads Men’s Shed . She also displayed some creative ways to using the completed knitting.
Ben and Ken from Shoalhaven Mens Shed came in and shared the journey of how the Mens’ Shed came into being and what they do for the community. They have been of great assistance to us. A group of enthusiastic Year 4 students will be visiting the Mens’ Shed on Monday 16 June to show the men how to use the spools and the weaving looms they created for us. We will also be taking some of our award winning biscuits from our Term 1 Bake-Off to share with the gentlemen and to show our appreciation of their support.
The unit will culminate with a skills hour in Week 9 where mums, dads, friends and relatives will all be invited to come and share their knowledge and skills about all things associated with wool with the Year 4 students. It will be a wool extravagance with knitting, pom pom creations, looms, crocheting etc The creative pieces the students made from their knitting spools will also be on display.
Years 5 & 6 PBL
In Term 1 2014, the Stage 3 Henry Lawson Enrichment English Class have been exploring resilient attributes exemplified by notable historical figures, and identified and honoured in influential community members. The PBL is driven by inquiry and the need to find the answer to the question:
“What can we learn from other people’s inspiring stories of resilience that we might be able to use in our own lives?”
Through the use of effective thinking tools and graphic organisers, the students explored attributes of resilience and linked these admirable qualities to a famous and resilient historic figure. The students shared and presented their researched knowledge about their historical person artistically, symbolically and verbally.
Focusing on these resilient attributes, the students then identified an inspirational community member whom they interviewed and highlighted their positive qualities and strengths. The students then create a Spoken Word poem honouring the resilience and determination of their inspirational community member.
The Enrichment class was then responsible for inviting their inspiration community member to their SLAM where all Spoken Word Poems will be performed at the Resilience Café Morning Tea. In honouring their resilient community member, the students discovered ways to strengthen their own resilience and allow people’s inspiring stories to empower them as they journey in life.
Although initially daunting and overwhelming, the students took risks with their learning and developed create and critical problem solving skills as they worked collaboratively towards being able to answer the driving question behind the project.
‘It always seems impossible until it’s done’ .
The Bucket List Dream Vacation Expo
Recently, the Stage 3 da Vinci Enrichment Mathematics Class were given the task of creating a dream vacation from a Bucket List of Places to Visit Before You Die. The students had $10,000 to spend on their two week holiday and needed to convince a panel of expert judges that their holiday is the one to choose by answering the driving question:
“What is the financial cost of visiting a destination worthy of making a “Bucket List”?”
The students worked collaboratively in teams and were required to collate a detailed itinerary and budget guide sheet for all flights, accommodation, food, excursions, transport and sundries for all members of their travelling party.
The students also had to put together a presentation demonstrating detailed knowledge of their chosen destination, highlighting natural features, significant monuments, food, currency, climate, language and the people.
At the expo, each group creatively presented their all inclusive travel plan within budget and had the task of convincing others that their vacation was the number 1 place to visit. The students worked with many mathematical concepts including 24 hour time, currency conversions, international time zones, money, graphs, all aspects of numeration and calculations and all with real life and significant meaning. Mathematics learning that makes sense and is useful in our future lives!
“Give a bowl of rice to a man and you will feed him for a day.
Teach him how to grow his own rice and you will save his life.”