Hands-On Learning Provides Valuable Experience For Students

Oskaloosa High School students demonstrate ping pong ball launchers they constructed as part of the PBL Showcase.

Oskaloosa High School students demonstrate ping pong ball launchers they constructed as part of the PBL Showcase.

Oskaloosa, Iowa – The students at Oskaloosa High School shared with the community the work they have done recently during a Project Based Lessons showcase.

Oskaloosa High School Principal Stacy Bandy is excited about the possibilities that Project Based Lessons offer his students.

The public showcase was in its fourth showing, and the exhibition night is an opportunity for students to showcase to the public and their families how they are able to put to practical use the skills they are learning in the classroom.

“It’s basically a night where kids get to show the types of projects or Project Based Lessons that they’ve been doing here in school,” said Bandy.

Colton Stout was one of those students who was showcasing the skills he learned in class, putting them to a project making a kaleidoscope.

Stout said they used their geometric skills in reflections to make shapes.

Stout described the process, which included measuring the can used for the kaleidoscope, in order to make the device function.

Stout’s teacher, Beverly Jenkinson, said she has worked with the students on geometric art, and worked on a unit called transformations, which include reflections, translations, and rotations.

“Students had to figure out how many reflections a triangle would give them,” said Jenkinson, “and they had to show me the reflections of a figure.”

“The kaleidoscope is the final product,” added Jenkinson. “The most common combination is called the glide reflection, which is a translation and a reflection at the same time.”

The grading for the project is based up a rubric or “a scoring guide used to evaluate the quality of students’ constructed responses”.

The project brought together how to make a reflection, rotation and the choice on how to glue the project together, “and how they learned from one to the other,” added Jenkinson. “They were able to show us how they understood how to do those three concepts.”

Cross-pollination of ideas takes place during such projects where such classes as consumer science work with an algebra class, or math and science working together for presentations.

“It’s a cross-curricular type of work,” says Bandy.

“With Project Based Lessons, the students are working on standards within their content area, trying to show teachers that they have mastered those things,” says Bandy. “What they have to do is, they must present either to peers, to professionals, or Ato the community.”

“Nobody wants to look bad, everybody wants to step up their game, and that’s what this does,” says Bandy of the PBL Showcase. “It gives the opportunity for students to be able to show what their real knowledge is.”

“For some, that’s a really good way to do it,” says Bandy. “Because they may not be real good at written tests, but they do have the knowledge, and if they can explain it to you, then they pretty much know it. It isn’t just about writing it down.”

It past years, it was about being able to write down the process. “But now it’s a little bit different. If you can show me how, I can then assess whether you have those skills or not,” said Bandy.

When looking at Project Based Lessons, Bandy says that doing a project hands-on “they are more focused on it. They’re learning.”

The Project Based Lessons make students do the research and the work “in the direction you want to take it,” adds Bandy. “As long as you show me the skills that you have learned, you can take it anywhere you want.”

Bringing multiple topics or skills together “Is more realistic,” says Bandy. “If you really think about it, where do you just do math? When you do math aren’t you also maybe writing or speaking or presenting? It all happens at one time.”

“Why do we have to separate it all out in school? asked Bandy. “In real life, it happens all at one time. So the more we can get it to be relevant, in real life, the better off we’re going to be. The more these kids will learn and be able to transfer it, in the real world.”

There will be another exhibition taking place in March that will highlight more projects that teachers and students have.

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Posted by on Jan 16 2018. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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