Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Plate Waste Wrap Up

We are zooming toward the end of the school year at warp speed!

Nevertheless, we have found time to tie up the plate waste project. Kacie presented the five day data to our class last week. Other noted guests were the director of our district's food cooperative, and our head chef, Emily. I appreciated that Kacie put together a slide show presentation that showed students both a) an adult's real life use of the scientific method and b) an adult's real life use of presentation software. The discussion that followed brought to light issues including required serving sizes, our school's continued quest for a permanent composting situation, and how to share what we've learned with the rest of the school community.

In between field trips and other end-of-the-year merriment, students have been working on self selected projects. Two pairs of students made educational posters to put up in the public places in the building, another pair of students are working on a letter to the editor of the local paper. A handful of students are working with our technology educator to create educational brochures about our findings and a group of four students created a skit, which they performed in all school assembly this morning. The moral: Eat the food you take. Finally, one student was inspired by Kacie's presentation and created her own four-slide presentation that she shared after the skit.

As always, there are several tensions with these sorts of projects. The group dynamic, what information to present, a looming deadline. Helping students navigate them is a big part of project-based learning. It's something I am still refining in my teaching. When it's working, a group of students goes off to work for an hour and comes back with a skit that's ready to present, as was the case this week. That focus and independence...that is what I hope to build up in my students. When it happens, it is almost magical.

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