Last March, second graders began a 2.5-month project inspired by a challenge from two representatives of Bayer Crop Science. Jenna Oesch and Miechele Catt asked the students to find a way to get children to eat more fruits and vegetables. Second Grade Teacher Sarah McGinn said, “Each group had project managers to help them find experts to help with their projects. For example, Ms. Garner helped with creative design and Mr. Stevens helped with the video.” The goal of project-based learning (PBL) is that the students drive the program. Very few parameters are given, and teachers guide students with as little intervention as possible. All our Beasley second grade teachers – Ms. Hanser, Ms. Skaggs, Ms. Kraushaar, Ms. McGinn and Ms. Witzman – carefully guided their young entrepreneurs through the process, which included research and collaboration to design a unique program.
At the end, Ms. Oesch and Ms. Catt returned to Beasley, and students presented their projects to their “clients.” The results included a wide variety of programs, including skits, videos, board games, skee ball, a cookbook and a bingo-like card that holds their classmates accountable for selecting fruits and veggies at school. Here’s a video from one of the teams, and below you’ll find a photo gallery showing the other projects.
“These little business executives and entrepreneurs were so impressive. They had confidence, they showed leadership and teamwork and brought an amazing element of fun,” Ms. Oesch said.
Ms. McGinn was impressed by how well the students worked over their long-term projects. “To watch their ideas develop from the very first day and then to see them present was amazing! I was really impressed with their collaboration while making the projects.” The students learned how to solve problems when they encountered obstacles, and developed key teamwork skills. “Many of their discussions were thoughtful and insightful,” she said.
Ms. Oesch said, “The most rewarding part was seeing these bright, young, future leaders taking their fruit and veg education to heart, changing their eating habits and having fun teaching others why making healthy choices are the right choices.”