When we decided to implement the PBL at St. Peter’s School almost two years ago, we wanted to move away from the traditional idea of education. The image of a class full of students sitting in rows at desks, dutifully listening and recording what they hear has become less useful and purposeful in a world which values creativity, analytical skills and progressive thinkers.
For us, it was a challenge that required lots of teaching planning, designing cross-curricular activities and introducing new ways of assessing. Now it is the teaching/learning practice followed throughout each of the primary stages.
More than two school year later, if you take a look and some of the topics that are taking place from Foundation Stage to C6, you can see how children are enjoying their learning, how aware they are of it, and how they are able to develop the kind of life-long learning skills we were looking for.
Classes 1 & 2: Push me, Pull me – Learning about Force and Resistance
One of the last topics C1 & 2 have been working at is “Push me, pull me”. In one of the activities, held this week, Miss Pat’s children were blown away testing the effects of air resistance using different types/sizes of paper and card.
Here is a brief video about the activity:
C5: From “The Great, the bold and the brave” to Fair-trade
Last term students in C5 were learning about the Ancient Rome on their PBL. One of the activities consisted of recreating historical battles:
This term they have been learning about Fairtrade and one of the activities was to organise a fairtrade shop. They baked, sold and earned 350€, which they donated to one Non Profit Organisation.
Foundation Stage: Curious Kids
After the success of our PBL implementation in Primary, this year we launched Curious Kids in Foundation Stage. One of the first projects which the children were working at was “Means of transport”. As part of it, the children in Foundation 4 & 5 reflected on how they would like to come to school. The following video gives you a taste of what it involves a project on this stage.
Project Based Learning helps children to be comfortable at the non-comfort zone, which is, for us, the best way to face an uncertain future. By letting them inquire, explore, research, discuss, reflect and present, we are encouraging their curiosity and passion for knowledge, and the capacity to adapt and face challenges they might encounter in their lives.
However, we would like to remember that mundane projects that are strictly assessed but do not provide any real-world applications are stunting the growth and creativity of students. This is not what we look for when applying PBL. We need to plan projects that excite children. Only these kinds of projects will create a positive, engaging environment and be memorable for all involved.