Hi there! On Tuesday, January 28, 2020 Kindergarten Teacher Ms. Shannon Koppenhafer and Librarian/Makerspace Teacher Miranda Bailey began a journey of helping Kinders with their very first Problem-Based Learning Project. Here is the Progress ...
Our campus is in its sixth year of the implementation of Problem-Based Learning (PBL) Units. We have done these units school-wide and at individual grade levels. But what exactly is PBL?
PBL is a way of approaching authentic learning by incorporating MANY curriculum areas into one real-world project. For example, students can learn math, science, social studies, writing, and public speaking skills and standards all while addressing an authentic problem on their campus or in the community.
Often times, the learners themselves come up with the issue that needs to be addressed, and then teachers organize a unit of learning around the problem topic. A PBL can involve students going on field trips, listening to guest speakers and then doing their own research on the problem. After the field work and research components, learners are asked to come up with a solution(s) to the problem, and then finally, they present their findings and solution ideas to an outside-of-school panel of community members for feedback.
These solutions are often implemented campus-wide or community-wide and can have long-lasting effects for the learners as well as those stakeholders impacted by the suggested solutions.
In doing a project like this, students can easily see the fruit of their learning labor, so to speak. It is a way to learn meaningfully and tie together standards from many subject areas, while partnering with the community at large and impacting schools and communities. It's a win-win for everyone.
So far, New Emerson's PBL units have resulted in the design and renovation of a new Library/Makerspace, an outside Art Mural being designed and painted, campus-wide recycling changes, and engaging eco-centric learning about Colorado and the local Grand Junction community.
This month, Kindergarten will embark on a learning journey about kindness and its potential impact on our school and community as well.
It will be interesting to see where this PBL path leads.