The Scottish Educator Euan Macintosh reports on the work of a school in the US where pupils are pushing the boundaries of learning - they're taking part in a project to create a new type of biodiesel which would be more efficient than existing methods. The class applied for two patents this year, and two communities in Guatemala are developing the product to provide fuel for real.
Planning is undertaken along these five structures:
Desired results: where do you want to go
Understandings: the big ideas - why are we teaching or learning this?
Essential Questions: The throughline - what do we keep coming back to throughout the inquiry?
Skills and Content: What is the stuff that we have to know to get to those big ideas?
If, after a period of learning, you assess by giving out a test, you are not doing project-based learning. Tests and quizzes are but a dipstick, a quick snapshot of where everyone is at. The projects themselves, the projects that are the creation of the students themselves, are the main assessment tool.
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