In Seven Essentials for Project Based Learning, John Larmer and John R. Mergendoller lay out the seven essentials for project based learning by giving an example of a fictional teacher, Ms. McIntyre, who is teaching a project about water-borne bacterium to her class. The project must be meaningful and provide an educational purpose or it just ends up being "busy work".
The seven essentials for project based learning are:
- A Need to Know, which is an initiating and opening event to the project that grabs the attention of the students so they will want to learn more about the subject matter.
- A Driving Question is what introduces the students to the challenge of the project and gives them a sense of purpose. Usually the driving question is open-ended so they can think more about what the teacher has asked.
- Student Voice and Choice is when the teacher gives the student's the choice to use creative tools to present their project and have a voice when doing so. They can state their opinion on what topic the teacher has chosen.
- 21st Century Skills is the next essential when students are split into groups so they can learn to collaborate and use technology to work together.
- Inquiry and Innovation is essential because students need to do research to answer their own questions about the topic and so their project can grow.
- Feedback and Revision can be a perfect time for peer editing before the students present their final presentation.
- A Publicly Presented Product is when the groups of students present their projects to an audience that isn't just their teacher and classmates. They care more about the quality of the assignment and will feel prouder when others enjoy it.
The first video I chose was Students Solve the Problem of Watery Ketchup With A New Cap. Two students from a high school in Missouri were given a prompt by their teacher, "It really bugs me when..." and they had to find out what bugged them the most and find a solution. They chose the problem when water comes out of a ketchup bottle and it makes a mess. So they designed a piece of plastic that they used a 3D printer to print out and attached it to the bottom of the new ketchup bottle cap. It kept the water from coming out with the ketchup. The two students investigated the problem, did very in-depth research by making sure there wasn't already a patent for their idea, and presented their final project.
Project-Based Learning and Physical Education explores the opportunity of using project based learning with physical education. High school students were asked to provide the best exercise program for the middle school students. Afterwards, they were would publicly present their exercise plans to the school's administration and teachers. The seven essentials that are stated above were used in this article when using this exercise plan as an example. Above all, the project based learning exercise plan taught the high school student about team work and working together.