By Katie Shonkwiler, Brookridge Day School 3rd Grade Teacher
Project-based learning seems to be a buzz in the education world. Elementary, middle, and high schools are all using project-based learning as a way to try to engage all learners. Why? How do we implement this at Brookridge Day School?
As educators we try to prepare all learners for life after high school. Life after high school looks different for each child. For some that is college, others it is a trade school and some go straight into the work force. With this in mind, educators have a huge job; to prepare learners for any road he/she may take.
The definition of project-based learning according to The Buck Institute is straightforward. It is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge.
Project-based learning prepares our learners for the future!
It involves working on a project for a while and that involves many aspects. Those aspects include problem solving, working with others, and developing research skills. These are skills that will follow all learners throughout his/her life.
Here at Brookridge Day School we use project-based learning in our elementary classrooms. In kindergarten and first grade we encourage students to learn how to work together. They do this in cooperative groups on shorter projects and activities. Those activities often involve researching a topic to learn more about something being studied in class. In second and third grade, these projects become more long term. Studying together, planning together, and presenting the information together. Collaborating together helps us all learn how to be problem solvers.