What is a project-based education?
At Parker, projects encompass a number of things from themed units of study that ask a big question and incorporate all the subject areas – to products that demonstrate a student’s learning, like an essay, a poster, a play, a robot or a video. In project-based education students solve real problems and often they reach out beyond the school setting. Project-based learning builds both academic and social skills and is highly motivating to students. As students become more enthusiastic, they retain more learning and reach ever higher. They become good solvers of complex problems, flexible in their thinking and open to new ideas.
Here are a few recent examples from grades 6 and 7:
Middle school art classes tried out designing boats and blowing them on a water table. After successively adding pennies, they could see which designs were most successful. They took the best design and made small models – then scaled a large boat that they will float on the pond. This STEAM project (STEM plus arts) builds academic, artistic and scientific skills as well as developing cooperation, determination, and confidence in problem-solving.
In a week-long STEAM experience, these same students formed teams to explore all the aspects of space tourism. They researched the effects of space travel on the human body, used a budget and designed and built their rockets within the budget, and launched them. They made marketing videos to promote their space tourism companies.