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Increase use of Project Based Learning (PBL) and/or inquiry-based instruction

LKSD Best Practice #10

PBL is a student-centered approach to learning that engages the students in active exploration of content and forces higher order thinking while exposing them to real-world contexts. 

Focus Friday: February 24, 2023 

Hallmarks of Project Based Learning in LKSD

  1. Real-world applications

  2. Hands-on, authentic learning

  3. Collaboration

  4. Students do the "heavy lifting"

  5. Presentation element

Suggested Process

Part 1:

  • Start with a question

  • Students attempt to resolve a problem

  • Students collaborate and investigate

  • Students develop self-directed learning strategies 

Part 2:

  • Embed the content area in a realistic format

  • The project engages students’ interest both in and out of the classroom

  • Students carry out their learning strategies from Part 1

  • Students make sense of their work and present their findings 

If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. 
- Albert Einstein

In LKSD, the hallmark component of project based learning is that the project end with a presentation component. 

Also known as "the protege effect," the process of learning by teaching leads to enhanced retention. The act of preparing the presentation leads to short-term retention, but actually teaching or presenting the content is what leads to long-term learning. 

The benefits of learning by teaching are not limited to comprehension level of knowledge acquisition. In addition, students are developing essential social emotional skills and we may also see an increase in student self-efficacy, confidence, and communication skills.  

Cell Structure Project

Students were tasked with creating a 3-D "cell model" after learning about cells and their organelles. To save on space and resources, I modified a traditional cell model project to utilize a legal-sized manilla folder as the base. If wanted, students could bring materials from home to utilize for their projects, but many opted to use the materials I provided for them. I tried to emphasize creativity with this project and also perseverance, all while having pride in what we create.

Leah Sahr, Secondary Science, Nunapitchuk

I like doing project-based learning in my class because it provides opportunities for my students to develop their communication skills, sharpen their problem solving/critical thinking skills, strengthen their teamwork, and uphold lifelong learning.

Eric Jude Ismael, Tuntutuliak

K-6 Bilingual Research Centers

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Hallmarks of [Bilingual] Research Centers:

  • Students read to learn

  • Promote responsibility

  • Partners hold each other accountable 

  • Can be as structured (or not) as needed 

BRCs are part of the dual language enrichment (DLE) model and serve as structured activities to promote depth of thinking. By original design, the centers are meant to be accessible to learners in two languages. 

However, teachers do not need to be part of a dual language school to make use of these projects. 

Click here to download a PDF of this document

This process teaches and reinforces so much more than just content, it's about the process and the lessons we learn while problem solving and exploring.

Leah Sahr, Secondary Science, Nunapitchuk

Role of the Teacher:

  • Develop a time line

  • Develop an assessment with associated rubric

  • Organize resources for students to reference

These students are carrying out a design from their high school physical science class. They are aiming to answer the question*, "How can you make an action figure jump higher?"

*Based on the ADI Labs for Physical Science

“In my “Geo-towns” project, my objective was that learners will be able to demonstrate their understanding of parallel/perpendicular lines, intersecting lines, angles, and transversals by creating a street map of their own village/fictional town/city. The project was totally a success. The students were very occupied and able to relate the concepts learned to the real world setting through their meaningful outputs.”

Eric Jude Ismael, Secondary Math, Tuntutuliak

Additional ideas to promote Project Based Learning:

  • programming

  • coding

  • robotics

  • AI

  • 3D printing

  • podcasting 

  • science fair projects

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