The last couple of weeks have been such an adventure! I have never fully jumped off of the PBL cliff before, doing the majority of my work before the project started and then letting the students drive the work from then on. This is of course not to say that there wasn’t lots of support work to do, but the students and their interest and goals became the focus of each class. They continually amazed me with the commitment to the work and their determination and focus during the class periods where they were establishing the tasks for themselves and their group.
The larger groups, with 8-9 girls in each one, worked well. This was especially true for this because of its size. It meant that no one or two students had to carry the ones who didn’t want to commit to the work of the project. There were a few girls for whom the degree of independence led to distraction and a lack of work. (An area I really need to think about for the next project!) For the majority of the students, the larger group created a rich sense of comaraderie as they worked together to accomplish their work. They took their individual roles seriously, working to accomplish their specific task and to make sure that it connected with the work of their partners. The interior store signs needed to match the exterior; the business cards needed to have the same logo as the advertising. It was great watching them discuss and deliberate over what would best represent what they had learned and what they were creating.
Some of the highlights included a girl who researched Guilds and created a game of “Guildopoly,” complete with a board and figures, to represent the tasks of becoming an apprentice, journeyman and master.
Another student created a parachute lamp to represent Leonardo da Vinci’s inventions. There was a 3D model of the Duomo in Florence.
One girl decided to make chocolate bars that include Renaissance ideas on the wrapper and then had trading cards inside.
Some created clothing or jewelry. The focus on these was on quotations of the person they studied. In these, Elizabeth I and Margaret Cavendish.
It was an amazing day, watching them create their stores out of all of the pieces that they had been making over the last two weeks. The final step is the Grand Opening this afternoon. Students, teachers and administrators have been invited to visit the shops. The girls will be talking to people, using the sales speeches that they wrote, trying to convince people to choose their item and their shop. I have strips of 6 stickers that the “shoppers” will use to identify which items they would like to “purchase.”
The shop with the most stickers will be declared the Winner!
Everything turned out so great! It looks like the students put in a lot of hard work and commitment to their stores. In Dr. Strange’s EDM 310 class at the University of South Alabama, we are a project based learning class as well. His class is a lot different from any other course I’ve ever taken. It’s a lot to get used to but with the increase of technology in the classroom, I’m looking forward to learning how to teach this way. I’ve enjoyed reading about this project and seeing some finished projects. I will be posting a summary of your blog posts that I have commented on and read on my blog. I would love for you to check it out and give feedback.
Thanks again for sharing your experience with PBL!
A student in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama
My name is Chasity Heubach. I am a student in Dr. Strange’s EDM 310 Class at the University of South Alabama. I found you blog post really interesting because my class is strictly a project based learning course and my teacher encourages us to use this approach in our own classrooms. Thank you for sharing.
Hi, My name is Brittnee Heathcoe. I am a student at the University of South Alabama in EDM310. This post is really interesting to me because the class that I have said above is a Project Based Learning class. At first I had no clue what to expect when I started but it has been really fun to actually do different things and understand them because I did them myself. Your class did an amazing job on all the work in the pictures. I wish that we would have had larger groups in our class to take the place of the ones that were slacking. I can’t wait to read more about your experiences with PBL. Thanks!