As elementary school children study the environment, project based learning turns students into researchers.
Instead of passively learning from books and online resources, fifth graders at Parkway Elementary School are collaborating with each other, exercising critical thinking skills, and exercising their creativity as they answer the question: How do humans and natural events affect the environment, and how can we restore balance to the ecosystem?
“Project Based Learning increases the opportunity to be creative, critically think, collaborate with each other and communicate with each other,” said Parkway principal Heather Beaulieu. “The students still learn the same standards that they would otherwise, but they are given choices as to where their research leads them.”
The students chose different environmental topics to research that relate to the question of what actions impact the ecosystem. They investigated poaching, oil spills, and natural phenomena such as tsunamis and precipitation.
The personalized learning approach is appreciated by the students. “The teachers are just letting us go free and let us go do our own stuff,” said one student who is researching droughts. “So it’s easier for us to do it, and we got to pick what we wanted to do.”