Learning Adventure: Picking a Project

April 12, 2012 § Leave a comment


Reminders: Please review the learning adventure rubric here. This form will also serve as a guide to how you might pace your work so that it can be completed by the due date: Thursday, April 26 at the beginning of class. Here’s a brief overview of the topics I’ll be covering during the remainder of our classes:

Tuesday, 4/17: Finding fantastic web resources for your Learning Adventure with Thinkfinity
Thursday, 4/19: Learning Adventure workday – class will not meet

Tuesday, 4/24: Notes and info for remaining Learning Adventure sections
Thursday, 4/26: Last day of class, Learning Adventure due, end-of-semester showcase

Let’s look at the NETS again.

Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources. Students:

1. identify and define authentic problems and significant questions for investigation.
2. plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project.
3. collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.
4. use multiple processes and diverse perspectives to explore alternative solutions.

What does your book say about problem solving?

“Students apply critical and creative thinking skills to prior knowledge during the problem solving process. The end result of problem solving is typically some kind of a decision: choosing a solution and then evaluating it.” (p 155)

“Problem-based learning (PBL) is a teaching approach that combines critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and inquiry as students explore real-world problems. It is based on unstructured, complex, and authentic problems that are often presented as part of a project.” (p 156)

If you type the texts into a word cloud software, then you will see the word cloud like this.

Wordle: problem solving

PART ONE: Backwards design

Sometimes the best way to figure out what you want to teach is to first figure out what you want students to be able to do. When you’re cooking, most of the time you decide what you want to eat BEFORE you get together your ingredients. At least, in the more successful times that you are cooking. So, let’s figure out what kinds of projects your students might complete – then next week we’ll working on organizing resources to help them create their projects. Just as we choose a recipe by looking at pictures, a lot of kids will choose your adventure based on the project they will complete.

Why does project-based learning even matter? What did you learn from the articles you read/videos you watched before today’s class. How does this apply to your Learning Adventure?

Together, we’ll watch the video on Applying Math Skills to a Real-World Problem.  What evidence do you see that this is a good project? What are the characteristics of a good project-based learning activity?

Now it’s time to brainstorm project ideas. What kinds of projects might your student do? Will they create a glogster poster to show how they define a hero? Or will they create a video to talk about recycling? Maybe you’ll encourage your student to start a blog to help other middle schooler’s learn how to keep their personal hygiene. Here’s a long list of project ideas. Read about Twenty Ideas for Engaging Projects for more ideas.

Once you have a question and a project in mind, it’s time to figure out how you’re going to help students come up with an answer to your question and show you what they know (i.e. what they believe the answer is) with some type of project.  We’ll look at how to support their learning on Tuesday.

PART TWO: Keep me updated

Fill out this form so I can know how to help you. Please don’t complete it until the end of class so the information will be current.


1. Work on the INQUIRE and SHOW WHAT YOU KNOW sections of your website.

2. Your Learning Adventure is due on Thursday, April 26 at the beginning of class. I will NOT accept it late (late passes expire before this date).


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