Third graders were not given the option of using textbooks in learning about the local history of a unique community where they live. Instead, the Theodore Judah Elementary School students in Folsom were asked by their teacher, Jennifer Foster, to create a project with one simple question. “What are the historical places that make Folsom a unique community?”
“Instead of learning from a textbook and sitting in a classroom, I created a PBL (project based learning) where the students have to become the expert,” she said. “On a specific topic they do research, go on tours, go out and learn everything they can.”
All 75 students broke up into teams of three and four to work on the project. They started with field trips for the entire third grade around Folsom, going to historic sites such as the Folsom Prison, the Folsom Dam, the Murer House, the Folsom Hotel, and more.
Students then worked in teams on their presentations. “This is the first year of doing this project and it is important on two different components,” Foster said. “The first is communication and collaboration. The kids had to work together to complete their projects. The second is it involved a lot of creativity on their part.”