I have always had those few projects that I thought were really good, but lacked a purpose. I often would be half way through the project and forget why I was doing it, imagine the student's impression. Centering the project on the design brief always provided that purpose as long as the problem statement allowed them to see the purpose. Design challenges also created new opportunities to create hands on projects and allows the students to experience real design challenges that have come up in the development of our society.
Great Plains Sodbuster
Travellin' West Volume Problem
New Deal Worker
Historical inquiry lessons take on lab format.
- Previous lessons seemed to never fit into time allotted and were never focused on specific skills - they usually seemed like a throw in lesson to the stduents, but I knew they needed to be the lesson that drove the unit of study.
- History lab provides a consistent template that can cover content deeper. Having this template to provide a consistent procedure for student thinking allows them to apply the thinking instead of constantly relearning the procedures that inherently seemed new. The lab format also allows me to plan more efficiently, as it becomes gathering motivating sources and not always creating the lesson from scratch.
Skills lab developed out of a more focused approach to building skills necessary to think historically. Again, having a consistent format with the "lab" verbiage creates an atmosphere of hands on learning - something that social studies traditionally lacks. Students begin to move away from the feeling of learning the skill to get through class, but can see the skill used in other classes.
science ex. observation and inference
Flexible Time Creates Efficiency
Content driven lessons escaped the lecture 5 times a day which created mixed messages with classes in different places with different content. Large group provides a clearer message of what is important. It also frees up time for other activities that use the content.
No Longer Just Stand Alone Facts to Memorize
Team projects and curriculum links provide chances for students to see history as a driving force for decision making in all content areas. For example, science is driven by the needs of the society and math provides explanations for trends in society.