As leaders, why should we care about project-based learning? Because if we want graduates who are critical thinkers and problem solvers, we have to create learning environments in which students get to practice those skills in meaningful, authentic ways. Higher-level thinkers don’t just magically emerge from low-level thinking spaces. And that means we have to expect more from what we have traditionally called a learning ‘project.’
This quote was taken from a post on Scott McLeod’s Dangerously Irrelevant blog. As we continue to try and figure out the structure of E/I time at the elementary level, the EY team wants to continue to support classroom teachers in providing enrichment opportunities for all students. Much of our focus this year has been on providing Type I experiences which are designed to expose students to a wide variety of disciplines, topics, occupations, hobbies, persons, places, and events that would not be covered in a regular classroom (Renzulli). Our hope is that as students are exposed to Type I experiences, we can develop their interests and talents and move them towards Type II and III experiences.
Here are some 3rd Quarter E/I opportunities to consider:
A NEW Math Enrichment iBook that covers 3rd quarter math topics (Book 3) is available on our wiki. On the main page of the blog, scroll down to where it says “Click here to download the Grade 3, 4, 5 and 6 Math Enrichment iBook” and select the appropriate book. These books are full of opportunities for kids to dig a little deeper on a variety of math topics.NOTE: Students need to delete Book 1 and/or Book 2 from iBooks on their iPad before they can download the new one. Connect with your building’s EY Coordinator if you need help with this process.BONUS: During our PD day on Monday, January 19, Jenny Henningsen will be facilitating a session on how to use these iBooks with students. Please consider attending.
- The Science Olympiad Edible Car challenge could easily turn into a classroom E/I project. Although only 4th-6th grade students will be invited to attend the Science Olympiad, this challenge is doable for 3rd grade. The form can be downloaded here.
Another idea is for students to choose a design challenge from this site. They could complete a challenge and present it to the rest of the class.The 3rd Quarter focus for EY is science and students will be creating their own Super Science Show (modeled after Sylvia’s Super Awesome Maker Show). This could easily be something students team up to do in your classroom.
- If you’ve wanted to try a little coding with your students, Scratch Jr. is a great place to start with 3rd and 4th graders. There are currently 2 tutorial videos here and we will add a couple more project ideas in the next few days. Focusing on Scratch Jr. during E/I time could easily take 3 weeks (or longer).
The 2015 Nebraska Robotics Expo is on Saturday, February 21 at the Strategic Air and Space Museum. One of the competitions is Documentation where students come up with a problem and go through the Engineering Design Process to try and find a solution. Here is a great website with information and videos. If you want to have students compete in the documentation competition, print off an Engineering Notebook for each student.
On Tuesday, February 24, the EY Team will be hosting a Poetry Out Loud seminar for 3rd-6th grade students. We will have more information on our blog in the next couple weeks. In order to be invited to the seminar, students will have to write their own poem and perform it.One idea for E/I time is to gather various poems for the kids to read and perform. Students could use the Voice Recorder app on the iPad to record their readings. A Poetry Out-Loud event could be held in your own classroom where kids can drink hot cocoa and listen to each others’ performances.
- For the rest of the year, a weekly Math Minute challenge will be posted on our blog. Students can get to the challenges by going to the EY blog and clicking on Learning Opportunities->Math Minute.
We love to showcase student work on our Student Showcase Wiki. Please send student products (pictures, digital copies, etc.) to your building EY coordinator and we’ll get them posted!