Project Based Learning (PBL) in Middle School Through STEM

Apr 26, 2017 | Highlights, IMAMUSTANG, Impact, Innovation, Inquiry, Middle School News

Middle School teachers Larisa Pender-Healy and Mary Beth Struble  are taking their students down a PBL path, through STEM, to do a deep dive into multi-faceted concepts such as: 1) Science: Examining our food system by partnering with experts; and 2) Math: Developing a Bike Tour business.
Through practical application, students are combining classroom knowledge, research, advice from experts, alternative perspectives, and stretching their boundaries. They are finding that the hands-on learning approach affords them the ability to think more thoroughly, for a deeper understanding of issues.
1) Students in seventh grade are learning about the food system and all aspects involved, from growing, distributing, storing and providing food.
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2) Across the street in Middle School, Ms. Struble’s sixth grade math classes, students participated in their own PBL – a Bike Tour Challenge. Students developed individual cycling journey travel packages, determining not only the origin and final destination, but all of the tourist stops along the way. They managed the income, expenses, and profit, if any, of the businesses they created. Upon completion, the students created Google presentations to share with their parents, fifth graders, teachers, and administrators.
Student participant Zandy Geiger shares, My favorite part about the bike tour project was getting to create everything that you would need to know if you wanted to start a business. It was a very professional project that I enjoyed a ton! What surprised me was that there was a lot more detail to be put into making an actual bike tour. You would think that the preparation to create a bike tour would be easy and not hard at all, but it was surprisingly difficult. The PBL process is a very innovative process of thinking. PBL stands for project based learning, which is so fun! Instead of taking a lot of tests, our teachers give us a PBL that helps us learn more and still have fun. Just recently, Coach T assigned us a PBL about the black death. The assignment was to make a 7-10 minute movie about the black death that entertains and informs the audience. I love doing these projects. I feel that I could apply this knowledge in real life if I ever start a business. I will need to know all of the things that were required for this PBL, such as expenses, income, and profit!”
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