I have been reading books and researching sites about project-based learning for over a year but it wasn’t until a month ago that I implemented my first unit. I participated in a summer book club from my school and read the book PBL in the Elementary Grades by Buck Institute. It is a GREAT book and helps break down pbl so you can plan a unit. I decided to plan a unit around science and math. I saw a few posts from kindergarten and first grade classrooms where they built houses and then used a hair dryer to act as the Big, Bad Wolf. I liked this idea but wanted to add 2nd grade science standards and also incorporate math in the unit.
By assigning a specific cost to each material, I knew I could naturally meet the CORE standard of adding within 1,000 and also work with understanding multiples. I knew force and engineering would be integrated as well as how geometric shapes help with wind resistance.
While I had all of this planned, I was sort of lost on how to really start it. That is why I love Twitter! I was in a chat called #2ndchat. The topic was creating engaging science units and also collaborative projects. I was so blessed when @lesahaney became interested in my pbl project. I shared my overview and plans with her. Later we skyped and the project EXPLODED into a much deeper unit. We made our plans and she was so kind to answer all my questions about pbl. I was excited!
Every year, my team teaches a fairy tale unit. This tied in well with my pbl project! After reading The Three Little Pigs, we started discussing the houses. They talked about the different materials the pigs built the houses from and also the wolf’s strong breath. We talked about who designed houses which lead to a discussion about architects.
From there I posed the question:
As architects, what is the cheapest house we can build to protect the three little pigs from the Big, Bad Wolf?
I never imagined the journey we would take from that moment on…
Here is one of my favorite pictures so far. Can you tell they are excited about the results of their house test?