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.
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?
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”.
Student leadership and service in action
It all starts with an idea. Races Against Racism have taken place around the country, and last spring, a community member and organizer Henry Harris suggested that 15-year-old Hope Petraro organize an event in her community. He said she might be interested in having this event in Montpelier. That was just the spark she needed.
Since then, Hope, with the support of her teachers and community mentor, has created an important event to fight back against racism during a time when our country is seeing a resurgence of racial conflict.
Cornwall students think global, build local, share both
Last year the most amazing thing happened: my students at the Cornwall School designed and built a playground. They dreamed, planned, proposed, revised, fundraised — deep breath — organized, built and managed.
But then they taught themselves how to share their story: with social media, and with a whole world of educators, so that other students might have the same experience.
Making math real-world relevant
Would you tell the school board how to redesign your school? Students at Shelburne Community School, in Shelburne VT, did just that.
They were tasked with redesigning the school’s outdated “kiva” space. Using Google Sketch-Up, they created three different designs for renovating the space, and presented those designs to a panel of local architects, and their school board.
How do you explain PBL to families?
The popularity of Project-Based Learning (PBL) has grown significantly with teachers and students, but what about parents? When students walk out of school, do they communicate their excitement about PBL to their families?
Let’s look at some resources for helping parents understand why PBL is so engaging for students.