At our school, we approach learning in many different ways!
Project Based Learning
In Project Based Learning (PBL), students learn through an extended investigation process in response to a complex open-ended question or an engaging real-world problem. With teacher guidance, research teams of 3 to 5 students work together to investigate a topic, develop a project plan, and create a high-quality product solution. Students then present their work publicly to others. This problem-solving approach to learning charges students to be actively engaged in their learning, while mastering key Common Core State Standards and developing greater fluency in 21st Century Skills.
Inquiry Based Learning
Inquiry based learning engages students in uncovering a deep knowledge of the world through the process of questioning. In the elementary grades we begin with structured inquiry and grow student competencies in order to engage in guided inquiry on a much larger scale. Students engage in:
- Creating questions of their own
- Obtaining supporting evidence to answer the question(s)
- Explaining the evidence collected
- Connecting the explanation to the knowledge obtained from the investigative process
- Creating an argument and justification for the explanation
Inquiry learning involves developing questions, making observations, doing research to find out what information is already recorded, developing methods for experiments, developing instruments for data collection, collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data, outlining possible explanations and creating predictions for future study. Our students use an instructional model called Sci-5! Ask one of our students to model the steps for you.
Design Thinking is a systematic approach to understand people, define problems, and engineer innovative solutions. Students use empathy to understand human needs, to develop insights and ideas, and to design prototypes. This learning model helps students to identify ways they can make the world better AND have the personal will and tools to take action. “Design challenges” are integrated projects in which student use the design thinking process to engineer products and services. Projects can be short to help students to learn the process or longer to allow for more in-depth, independent investigation.
21st Century learning has some very important benefits for our kids:
1. Increases intrinsic motivation and student ownership for their learning
2. Moves students from being passive consumers of information to active producers of new knowledge
3. Students learn content while practicing research and presentation skills
4. Develops deeper learning and greater ability to apply old knowledge to new situations
5. Students practice collaboration and critical thinking skills while learning how to work with others
6. Students learn to be self-directed and how to take the initiative to complete team and individual tasks
7. Improves ability to question and pose problems
8. Encourages thinking about one’s own thinking patterns (metacognition)
9. Supports listening with empathy and understanding, a deep sense of curiosity, and persistence
10. Data gathering, synthesizing, making meaning, testing ideas, building on feedback, improving ideas
11. Creates opportunities for students to communicate with clarity, precision, and purpose
13. Builds on curiosity and sharpens imagination, creativity and innovation skills
14. Develops brainstorming skills in writing, drawing, three-dimensional building, and digital media
15. Develops entrepreneurial abilities, fosters risk-taking, viewing failure as an option for growth and learning