Project Based Learning
What is Project Based Learning?
Project Based Learning (PBL) is a teaching method in which students learn by actively engaging in real-world and personally meaningful projects. Arrowhead students are working on a community garden, mapping habitat and native plants on our campus and personal identity projects. Learn more about grade-specific Arrowhead projects below.
Kindergarten and 1st Grade are working together to build a community garden. The students are involved in every step. From transporting soil to planting strawberries to watering, weeding and eventually enjoying the fruits of their labor. Hopefully our entire school will have the ability to try something from our new garden.
Kindergarteners using their creativity to create amazing marble roller coasters. With minimal help from adults, students designed, implemented and demonstrated their roller coasters to their classmates and classroom visitors.
Our 2nd graders are learning all about tigers. They research tigers, 'spy' on them using tigers cams at zoos around the country and and learn about animal conservation and environmental concerns.
Students used gingerbread houses to explore goods and services. Leprechaun traps were used to understand building structures. I wonder if anyone caught a leprechaun?
Later in the year, 2nd graders will also be raising caterpillars to see in real time what metamorphosis look like. They will need to create habitats that allow metamorphosis to take place and see what changes are needed in the habitat once butterflies emerge. They will use what they learned building leprechaun traps to build butterfly structures that are safe and stable. A trip to the zoo will allow students to see real-life habitats.
How can we, as citizen scientists, collect and share data about plant and animal habitats in our school campus? This is the driving question for our 3rd grade students. They are becoming experts in the habitat and native plants on campus. Students looked at photos from a wildlife camera to discover what animals move through the campus. The 3rd graders learned about animal & plant habitats and then walked the school grounds observing these habitats in real life. Finally third graders made Habitat Maps of Arrowhead, which they shared with their Little Buddies.
What makes a makes a great graphic novel? 3rd graders brainstormed and determined speech bubbles, sound effects, dialogue, size difference, and many other qualities make good graphic novels. With their list of items, students created their very own comic strips!
Arrowhead Elementary was gifted a Totem Pole from Girl Scout Troop 406 in 1966. One of our 4th grade classes has taken on the task of researching our totem pole, its meaning and significance, and trying to determine who carved it.
The wolf at the top embracing a human child can symbolize education. The frog in the center, with his mouth touching the head of a man, represents sharing of knowledge in Northwest Culture.
The students learned that the colors are not original. It was likely painted over the years to help keep the deterioration to a minimum.
After hours of research, our 4th graders determined that Sam Williams, or one of his sons, carved our totem pole. The Williams family are members of Nu-chah-Nulth of Ditidaht First Nations. To learn more about the Williams' family, visit their website.
One of our teachers has been in contact with Eagle Son, Sam Williams' grandson. He has graciously agreed to carve our school a new totem pole. He is going to put a modern twist on tradition. Our students will help stain and paint the totem pole at the direction of Eagle Son.
Our 4th graders also investigated the question what makes a better timeline?
As a class we created a timeline of the Black experience in the US from chattel slavery - present day.
Students used Britannica research database to complete research on 3 distinct time periods: slavery, reconstruction/Jim Crow, and Civil Rights to present.
Students found facts and quotes to answer different questions about events and people from these time periods. They then used their own words to summarize and write the information. Finally, they found images.
Working in 3 teams students had to decide and create what information they wanted to appear on our timeline. Students especially were inspired by important figures in history, for example, Sojourner Truth. As a team they discussed what information and images were most clear and representative.
We realized our timeline is special because we wrote the information in our own words, selected powerful images to make the information come to life, and highlighted moments from history that are often overlooked when learning about American history.
Students were asked 3 guiding questions. Each question has many methods of research. Each question culminated in a digital representation of their findings.
- How do maps tell stories? Students studied geography and exploration/discovery. See the student's padlet on Asia.
- Why do people move? Students used their own families for research and also learned about immigration. See the student's family map.
- How can we use maps to tell the stories of why people move? This answer will be told using an interactive Google Earth Project.
Who am I?
A question many adults struggle to define. Our 5th grades are answering this question. Their work is includes personal attribute art, identity webs, family trees, family facts, and autobiographical timelines. They will be writing some poems and essays that also tie in with this theme, along with more visual art.