Lee Hewes

is totes becoming a teacher…

What’s the best design for a dragon trap? Introduction to PBL.

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Today, Bianca and I went out to the Novotel at Rooty Hill to run a couple of workshops on project-based learning for the staff at Model Farms High School. We got there about an hour late due to a mix up with the directions, so the two workshops actually ended up being one massive workshop with around 50 attendees, lulz, but this is how it went.

As usual, we wanted the session to be hands on and to engage the learners in the process of PBL. This time, however, rather than getting teachers to see PBL through the eyes of a teacher by designing a hypothetical project for their students as we might usually do, we decided to have our learners see PBL through the eyes of a student. We did this by giving those present a Driving Question to guide their inquiry and having them design, create and pitch a product in order for them to demonstrate their learning  in response to that DQ – just like students do in PBL.

Of course, we ran through what project-based learning actually is, and Bianca gave her characteristically awesome presentation running through the 8 essentials from BIE, some tried and tested of our project outlines and examples of student work. We also ran through our preferred Discover, Create, Share model, pioneered by Jimbo and tested in primary school by myself and others. But what did exactly did we get attendees to do? Design a dragon trap, of course!

To complete the task, teachers had to pitch their design to Bianca and I at the end of the session. To facilitate and authenticity and significance of the task, we reluctantly assumed the roles of CEOs for Dragon Keepers Inc. We also generously provided a cheque for $1,000,000 to be awarded to the team with the best design – lulz.

The project outline for the day is posted below, along with some examples of the wonderful work of our magnificent students. We were honestly blown away by the creativity and ingenuity that came out in the designs, and by the collaboration, critical thinking and communication skills that were displayed throughout the whole process. People really were researching and discussing dragons and how to catch them, keep them alive (or kill them) and how best to pitch their finally decided upon best design!

We both walked away feeling that most present were thoroughly engaged and enthusiastic about their learning, walked away with a greater understanding of project-based learning and, perhaps just as importantly, definitely came out with some sticky learning about dragons and how to trap them. Well done, #FutureLearningTeam!

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