This week our 7th grade team did a two day PBL with our students. Our team consists of Ryan Evans (Science), Jill Beals (English), Adam Hall (Social Studies), Marcia Kaufman (Special Ed), and myself (Math). The project was something Ryan and I have done before in our classes. It was a simple egg drop. Fun and easy for us to connect to our standards.
1 paper plate, 3 straws, plastic bag, 3 coffee filters, 1 meter of tape, 2 feet of string, one plastic cup, 1 balloon
We as a team ranked the kids from 1 - 3 based on how well they work in a group. As a team we do a lot of group work so we know the kids really well. Then we had a draft and combined a student from each grouping so a 1, 2, and 3 were together. We had a lot of fun and the groups really worked well together. We will definitely do this again.
Measuring, Converting, Speed Formula, Expository Paper, (next year we might add Newtons first law of motion)
21st Century Skills
Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking, Research, Application, Presentation Skills, Creativity
We took the kids out of their regular schedule for two days. The kids that were selected by each teacher worked in that room for the entire two days. Here is what each 1/2 day portion looked like.
The kids came into class and got into their groups. They were really excited to start building. It was fun to watch them debate on different ideas and then try them out. Our driving question was, "Which factor is more important: to save your egg, speed or cushion?" They spent quite a bit of time planning, building, practicing with a golf ball, and redesigning. After their group was done, they wrote their own individual expository paper on the steps they went through from start to finish.
After lunch we headed outside. We had four classes of egg builders. Each teacher dropped their class' contraptions from 10 ft. Each student had to keep the stats of every group in their class. They recorded time, distance, and whether the egg broke or not. If they made the first drop, they got to go through the "Evans Gauntlet". Our science teacher took them up 4 more heights using our football stands. The final height was on top of our press box. At one point the entire class was chanting "break" all at once. It was fun to watch. Once that ended, the kids went back to the rooms and started putting their presentation together. Five of the thirty-two groups completed the "Evans Gauntlet".
This day was planned for the kids to research the speed formula and figure out how to apply it to help answer the driving question. They then took their data and put it into graphs so they could figure out their answer to the speed or cushion question. They did this by looking at the data from the drops. We were a little ahead on time, so the day before we added some interesting egg questions. That way if they got done early, they still would have something to work on. They enjoyed trying to search and answer questions like which came first the chicken or the egg. Our kids really worked hard and did a nice job in groups.
The afternoon was set up for presentations. Our kids are really learning how to create and give a good presentation. In fact, most of our kids' presentations were better than some of the presentations from the last education conference I attended. They are learning to use as little words as possible, if any, and tell a story through their pictures on a Google shared presentation. Every group presented to their class. The kids in their groups used a rubric and evaluated each group in their class. The four winning groups then got to present in front of the entire 7th grade in our auditorium.
We had a great day. It was fun to see them grow, learn how to solve a problem, and work together. We are planning on doing one of these at the end of each nine weeks. The next three are a murder mystery, catapult, and a rocket build and blast off.