We just wrapped up our second PBL project of the year. Since my last project, I took time to reflect and decided some changes needed to be made; the biggest one being more student driven instruction. In my last post I mentioned that I felt like I had too large of a role in the first PBL unit and wanted my students to have more autonomy throughout the process. While this may seem like an easy change to make, giving a room full of 7 and 8 year olds control over the learning and instruction can be a bit unnerving.
In this project my students conducted research on different aquatic animals that interested them. Aquatic animals are in the second grade PA Common Core standards, so this project blended the content that needed covered while still giving my students voice and choice. Once students did their research, they created a model of their animal. They could use any materials they wanted to create it. When they were done they created a natural history "Aquatic Animal Museum" with different exhibits that housed their models. The students also included an informational writing piece at their exhibit. In addition, my students created a commercial to ask parents, families, and other classes to visit our museum and to consider donating money so we could support an endangered aquatic animal.
This project was a big undertaking, but by giving students more control they were able to learn more, problem solve, and persevere. There were many times that I wanted to step in or take over but I refrained. As teachers we often want to swoop in and help our students when they face problems or do not know all the answers, but letting go of the reigns and letting them persevere through a challenge will teach them more than we will in that moment. This project forced me to step outside of my comfort zone and ultimately my students benefitted!