Thursday, June 20, 2013

First Grade Challenge Based Learning Projects

After attending a presentation on Challenge Based Learning, one of our first grade teachers decided she wanted to "challenge" her students and develop their critical thinking and problem solving skills.
After a brainstorming session, she decided to address the Big Idea of Sustainability with her class. Sustainability is a pretty big word for first graders - but Ms. Sleasman met that challenge. She very strategically taught students the word sustainability using the Morph House methodology. They developed a strong understanding of the word and used it very fluently in their conversations and presentations.

After addressing some essential questions and brainstorming ideas with the students, they decided to take on the Challenge of recycling to reduce paper waste at their school.

They generated ideas on what they could do, who would be the "experts" at their school or in the community to help them, and how to best communicate with each of those experts. They also watched videos about projects at other schools to help them design their own.

Once they had researched their topics and consulted with experts, they
identified possible solutions and chose their group assignments.

  • After surveying the teachers, one group made recycling bins for teachers that did not have one in their classroom.
  • They created information charts that identified what could and could not be recycled in school recycling bins. These charts were placed on the recycling bins.
  • Another group created posters that were placed in appropriate areas around the school.
  • They created videos about their project and what students and staff can do to reduce paper waster at school and at home.

Read more about this project on Ms. Sleasman's Blog.

Visit the Challenge Based Learning website to learn more.

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