Thursday, September 22, 2011

PBL - 2 Weeks In

Wow - what a fantastic two weeks of school it's been.  I started with my year long PBL projects from day 1.

My Math 8's are completing a "Mathematics in Life" project where they have been given a persona (accountant, making 45k, married) and are now making important life decisions.

Our first assignment was a blast - they got to write the biographies for their "characters".  They had a blast coming up with what they did as children, where they met their husband, their parents, etc.  Some very creative juices are flowing!

The next thing we focused on was the preparation for creating a monthly budget.  First, they had to figure out what their income is - we talked about RRSP's, government tax, etc.  They had quite a bit of fun working out just how much to save in order to NOT give it to the government!

In science we started creating our digital textbooks.  The first topic - characteristics of living things!  Most students chose to "start off easy" and create a nice table with some pictures, examples and descriptions of the characteristics, but I did have one adventurous group - movie making!

After gathering costumes, the "news report about a lion and a unicorn" went into full swing explaining just how that lion and unicorn interact to both be living things - and it's hilarious seeing Grade 8 students wandering around in a unicorn costume, especially in a uniformed school!

The second textbook topic jumped into cells.  More students got creative with their "explanations" - I have two labs being created, and a cell made out of cake being constructed at the back of the room.  It's debatable which has more icing - the students, or the cake - but we're all having a blast and learning a ton.

I'll be compiling the various creations (pictures, videos, written submissions, etc) into an ePub or PDF format (depending on how serious the formatting gets) and providing it to the students to use on their e-readers.

Overall, I'm thrilled - the only minor hiccup was an initial reaction of "but we really like it when teachers stand and give us the notes" - but after some initial one-on-one work with a brief "lecture", those complains quickly subsided.

On to week 3 - budgetting and more work with cells!

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