Need an Engaging Project? Look at Current Events.

March 28, 2020

 

Since my last post, the world is in severe distress with the US reporting more cases than China, the UK prime minister Boris Johnson testing positive and foreigners being barred from entering China. Although my family and I have residential permits, we cannot go back to our second home. However, the learning must continue and even though this really is an anxious and surreal time in our history it is a huge learning opportunity for our students.

Title: When a Current Event Project = Coronavirus

Author: Sarah Field

Source: PBL Works

Link: https://www.pblworks.org/blog/when-current-event-project-coronavirus

 

Some key points:

 

1. Engaging projects are caused by current events. Students are being bombarded by all sorts of news pertaining COVID-19, may it be factual or embellished. Wherever the news is coming from, it is right there and no doubt, students have questions. 

 

2. Look at your outcomes or standards and find ways to connect these to the investigation of COVID-19. Which outcomes do you have that could allow your students to explore the pandemic and yet still satisfy your outcomes? Currently for my grade 3 unit I am using these two outcomes for our PBL unit:

  • Begin to understand that there are substances that can cause harm to health.

  • Develop and act on personal goals related to physical activity during exercise.

 

3. The COVID-19 pandemic is constantly being discussed that it is only fitting that students have questions about it. PBLworks suggests students can:

  • Research historical pandemics and investigate how nations/the world combated it

  • Create infographics about COVID-19, 

  • Investigate how COVID-19 affects our body, immune response, etc. 

 

4. Project-Based Learning is often talked about as a pedagogy that develops the skills and knowledge necessary for a future that is not known. PBL requires communication, critical thinking, creative problem solving and collaboration - all skills crucial for the 21st century, and all of which, in one case, are necessary to coordinate an effective response to a global pandemic. 

 

If you would like to read the full article, you can find it here: 

 

When a Current Event Project = Coronavirus

Some additional notes: 

Right now, the grade 3 homeroom classes and PE are in the middle of a collaborative unit - Body Systems. Our Central Idea is below. We decided to go a PBL avenue with this unit and using COVID-19 as the current event to engage our students into deeper learning. Long story short, most of our students live in Beijing and have remained indoors for longer than anyone else in the world. We are trying to solve this problem: 

 

Our public product will be a brochure of some sort that we can distribute to other schools to share how we can stay healthy while indoors. We are using the Wellness Wheel to investigate how different activities can promote different areas of health - it is not all about just physical health. The first picture just below the title is from an activity where students experienced three different activities (Yoga, Pilates and Body Part Twister) and were working out which wellness areas each activity was targeting.

 

 

This unit is authentic, it is relevant, there is choice, empowering, and as far as I can see, engaging. One area I really need to improve upon is to get more collaboration with the kids and the kids with each other to really make this unit a PBL unit. Looks like I’ll need more Zoom video conferences. 

 

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©2020 by David Cooney