From student-designed websites, to an interactive Kindness Crystal Ball, to a hawk on a clock – MICDS 2nd graders have been hard at work solving classroom problems in a creative, informative and entertaining ways.
According to second-grade teachers Amy Lamb, Kristen Kaiser and Margaret Hanser, these efforts are a great example of the project-based learning taking place in Beasley. Project Based Learning is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to a complex question, problem, or challenge.
“We had just been studying about our school community with our MICDS PBL project when this came to life. The 2nd graders were talking about issues that arise in classrooms that keep students from being their very best. They wanted to try and tackle these issues and see if they could become problem solvers for our school/classroom community,” said Amy Lamb.
Each group included a Reflector, Director, Encourager and Organizer, who played distinctive roles in coming up with the problem, the solution, creating the commercial and pulling all of the pieces together to show why it works.
The research phase included gathering resources, interviewing experts and writing an expository paragraph about what they learned, what issues they talked about, and why these are important issues. Then as groups they wrote persuasive essays to convince the teachers what issue they want to focus on and why that is the most important issue.
The creation phase began in January and included the hard work of trying to solve each of their problems in creative and informative ways. They worked collaboratively, set goals, made plans, reflected on how to improve their projects, sought out experts to help them, problem solved issues that arose throughout the process, and learned how to lead in a positive and assertive manner.
To determine if their projects worked, they used the scientific method – developed a testable question, wrote a hypothesis, listed out the specific procedure, gathered data for pre (before they implemented their project) and post (after implementation of their project) observations, learned how to create graphs to display their data, and drew conclusions as to whether their solution solved their specific problems.
The presentation phase included “commercials” as a way to showcase solutions and persuade students and teachers to use these solutions in their own classrooms.
“We received a lot of feedback from both students and teachers that they wish they had these ideas in their own classrooms because that would really help make things easier/better for them,” according to Amy Lamb.
Second graders shared their fun and useful ways to tackle some common classroom problems including the Bibbity Bobbity Boo, Tie Your Shoe song and friendship.com which featured a video series juxtaposing positive versus negative examples of friendship.