Project Based Learning, the story continues…
With the announcement this week that the PBL exhibition night will be in the latter part of Week 8, project work continues apace. Every day as I pass students in the corridor, I’m randomly asking them what their project is, how they’re progressing and what they are learning. After every interaction I’m left with a real sense of how proud the students are of what they are hoping to achieve, and what they have learned.
When I asked JB Acuna to write something for the newsletter this week, this is what he had to say:
From last term our School has been trialing Project-Based Learning, a learning approach in which students engage themselves in investigating a complex question, problem or challenge. As we are a Catholic School, students strive to model their projects on the seven principles of Catholic Social Teaching. These principles are Solidarity, Human Dignity, Stewardship, Common Good, Participation and Option for the Poor and Vulnerable. We hope that we can bring positive changes to our school and surrounding communities by reflecting these in our projects.
Project based learning also gives us the opportunity to hone our 21st century skills; a specific skill set that is crucial to ensuring a steady career in the future. Communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking all tie in to our PBL projects. As most of us work in group environments, we utilize these skills almost every day to solve conflicts, work efficiently and come up with unique ideas. With continuous practice, we believe that we will be prepared to enter the work force.
PBL has been an interesting experience for our group. The question we were working around was “how can we help international students integrate better into New Zealand?” after we noticed the clear segregation between local and international students. We mean to create a website containing school related matters as well as sports teams, events and places to visit here in Gore. Since all three of us were fluent in one other language, we decided to translate this resource into different languages to make it easier for them to read. In the beginning, we struggled to corollate our ideas and were adamant on the ones we had already thought of. Communication was a huge issue for us, as we hardly discussed problems we came across as a group. But as time went on, we got accustomed to each other and communicated more effectively as we began to realise that what we were working on was important and could potentially benefit future students of St Peter’s College.
JB Acuna, Somi Park and Chris Yang
This morning I caught up with some Year 9 boys who have designed a bench, created a 3D model of it in Minecraft and are now building it. Talk about a breadth of learning and knowledge!
Over the past term and a bit, we have been designing and constructing a bench for the school. Last term we began the design and plan process and learnt very quickly how efficient we needed to be as well as the amount of planning it was going to take. After we had designed the bench, we started working out the cost for items such as screws, brackets and varnish/waterproofing. Although we spent quite a bit it was quite good to have 4 people to evenly share the price. At the start of Term Four we showed our proposal to Mr Jack, to get permission to put it out the front of the school if we complete it to a high standard, which he agreed upon. So at the beginning of this week we started constructing the bench. Already we have learned how precise everything needs to be or it will mess the whole project up.
Fraser Wilson, Ben King, Luke Shallard and Jacob Hayward-Waddell
During my own PBL class this week I visited three students down in the tunnel house, where they are growing vegetables to donate to the “Pantry” in Albany Street. The potatoes, celery, carrots and peas are doing well and while the weeding is hard work, there’s a sense of satisfaction in making it all happen.
Josh Lawton, Connor Watkins and Toby Burns
That would be the common theme I’ve come across this week – pushing through the hard “stuff” is worth it to see plans come to fruition. It’s a pleasure to watch all these young people experience this important life lesson.
Bridget Ryan - Deputy Principal