In the teachers' lounge early in the year I noticed someone was donating some "freebies" to any interested party. There were children's books, books for middle readers and even novels for adults.
It just so happened that this one day, there among the books, was an AM/FM Radio Kit. You know, it's the kind that you have to put together. Quickly, I snapped it up and brought it to my classroom.
The kit sat among my games and forgotten for most of the year. Just the other day I was organizing the shelves and found it again. A few students were waiting to be dismissed and asked about it. After listening to the explanation I asked if they would like to try building it together during indoor recess. Little did I know the hubbub and stir that would ensue!
Before any assembly could occur the kids realized they would need a screwdriver and started trying to decide which type was necessary. One student offered to bring one a small phillips head. Another said that wire cutters were needed but thought that maybe they could use strong scissors. The conversation about where to begin and what was needed went on until all students were dismissed for the day.
Due to the rain, the next day found the kids indoors for recess. A barrage of students approached me asking about putting together the radio. And so it began - the making of the AM/FM radio in short 15 minute bursts. It is still not completed, but the kids have not lost their enthusiasm.
This made me think about 'authentic problem solving'. These kids were learning on their own - how to organize, handle tools, read directions, classify parts, test out ideas, work together and more. Their level of interaction and engagement was high. This was a problem they wanted to solve.
Noticing the students' enthusiasm for learning makes me wonder how I can incorporate meaningful, well-focused Project Based Learning lessons in my classroom. These resources below may help.
The Power of Project Learning: On Scholastic by Wayne D'Orio
Problem Based Learning Activities: A collection of PBL activities through Mrs. O's House site.
How to Write Effective Driving Questions for PBL: on Edutopia by Andrew Miller
Resources for Project Based Learning: on Wikispaces Blog
10 Free Project Based Learning Resources: at Tech&Learning by Michael Gorman
Project Based Learning: A compilation of resources by Cybraryman
Project Based Learning Resources: by the Educational Technology Guy
Please share your favorite project based learning lessons in the comment section below!