As Dorset’s coop dreams became a reality, students gathered new skills
What does it look like to break one enormous project into several project-based learning units?
For Dorset students to go from dreaming about fresh eggs to actually building a chicken coop required two strategies: breaking the PBL into phases, and asking students to assume different roles along the way.
Let’s break down just how Dorset’s chicken coop project stayed true to its PBL roots and manageable for students and educators.
Making time for making at Ottauquechee
STEAM — Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics — gives students the opportunity to create. To make. Maybe to fail. To try again! And to make something that improves a condition, solves a problem, or makes the world a better place. But if your school currently doesn’t offer a STEAM time, it can be daunting to figure out where to begin. And that’s where we pick up our story of Ottauquechee School, in Quechee VT, where we used Design Thinking, a portable makerspace and one amazing library space to figure out how STEAM Time could work at this school.
Welcome to Ottauquechee STEAM Time.
How did it go?
It can be easy to end your project-based learning experiences with students in a big heap of exhaustion and miss the opportunity to reflect on the experience. There is so much to learn and gain from gathering your (and your students’) reflections.
But how do you do that? Let’s look at some ways.
Meet the Humans of Burke
So many schools operate in isolation from the very communities they are situated in. Do your students know community members? Does your community see your students as young community members?
One small school in Vermont’s remote Northeast Kingdom interpreted the popular “Humans of New York” project to foster connection between their 8th graders and the town’s community. Meet the Humans of Burke.
TED Talks are short, personal powerful storytelling. Now: how can students use this medium as motivation to learn, to explore their purpose, extend their perspectives and understandings, and develop strong storytelling and presentation skills?
Let’s find out.
Manchester’s 6th graders weigh in… to their Selectboard.
Teams of 6th-grade students from Manchester Elementary Middle School researched this question and put their arguments to the town.
Should Manchester VT put in a bid to host a future Winter Olympics?
How soon is now?
Looking for opportunities to make real-world connections or bring an authentic audience to your students? Typically, a public presentation at the end of a project or unit provides this space for students to share with a wider audience.
But authentic audiences can be found at any stage of the work.
Applying NGSS to… chickens?
At the Dorset School, in Dorset VT, the 8th graders know that fresh, farm-raised eggs taste amazing. The problem: their cafeteria cannot afford local, free-range eggs. So they asked: “What would it take to raise chickens at the school?”
And they used a combination of design engineering, technology and community partners to find out.
Hope launches in the Northeast Kingdom
As part of participating in the UN’s Global Goals, students at Burke Town School, in West Burke VT, kicked off their service learning projects by inviting their community’s leaders to come to the school and ask for what they needed. What would make West Burke a better place to live? And how could these students help?
Introducing “Project Hope”.