Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Project Based Learning - a good example

A fabulous example of project work at its best was revealed in Grand Cayman today. It really is a fantastic demonstration of 'how to do it'.

The objective was to celebrate the Cayman Cat Boat as part of the national 'Heroes Day' celebration and produce a scale model for a sculpture for public display. The majority of what was really known about cat boats remained in the heads of the men who built and sailed them - dare I say these men are 'not as young as they used to be!' To complete the project much work had to be done in a fairly short space of time.
There are any number of ways to approach this in schools - 'talk and chalk' - ' go and find out and report back' 'write an essay' or a project approach. The first three styles many students would find deadly! They already get too much of that approach.

As a project the elements include: cultural history, research, interviewing, writing and editing, mathematics, technology including design, artwork and actually building a half scale model all to a time scale. The scope for total ICT integration is massive, the multidisciplinary curriculum aspects obvious to everyone.
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The actual result is a fantastic sculpture, totally accurate in detail accompanied by a small book, complete with thoughts, memories, interviews and photographs. 'Heroes Day' celebrations included full size authentic catboats, the book and the unveiling of the sculpture.
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This is a great mini case study of how to do project work - the concepts are totally transferable into schools - it has really captured the imagination of so many people! This would be so easy to transfer into schools - communication and joint planning is vital, passion and commitment the key!

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