PBL in Action at Long Elementary

Endangered Species Project for 7th grade Science

The Cool thing about PBL is the ability to make Real world connections! Check out how a team of researchers (three 7th grade students from Smith Middle School) convinced Congress (their teachers, Mrs. Bitar and Mrs. Hammoud) to virtually adopt an endangered species.

Research teams (of three students)  choose a threatened / endangered species.

As Research Scientists for the federal government, students conducted research to educate themselves about an animal’s habitat, reproduction, future, history, appearance/ behavior, enemies and survival.

Each team member chose between the following roles:  Ecologist, Zoologist and Conservationist and completed the individual background research.

 Teams worked to form a lobbyist group that developed a 5 minute persuasive plan of recovery to get their animal off the threatened / endangered species list using an Infographic Slide. 

Finally, the lobbyist group prepared and presented the information to Congress (Ms. Bitar and Ms. Hammoud) who selected the endangered animal that will be financially sponsored.

One team, consisting of Maya Othman, Max Polster, and Taylor Snow were selected to virtually adopt “Jimmy the Wombat” due to their in depth research on the Common Wombats endangered species status and ecological factors that contributed to their population decline. Here’s a picture of “Jimmy” and his new adopted parents (who are welcome to visit him at the Australian Zoo if they are ever in the neighborhood).

Here are the NGSS and CCSS covered in this Project.

  • MS-LS2-4. Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
  • RST.6-8.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts.
  • SL.8.5 Integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims and evidence, and add interest.

More information about Project Based Learning along with the resources used in this assignment, Check out the MyPD site and enroll in the PBL course.

Jimmy Certificate – Maya O, Max & Taylor (1)

Jimmy Letter – Maya O, Max & Taylor (1)


Packed House for PBL Session 1…

Picture this: A Sunny Saturday morning at 8 am. Where are you? At ASC with 40 other people waiting to get your PBL Groove on! That’s right! Everyone came out, contributed, shared experiences, and got a jump start on a future project for their students. We learned about What PBL is and what it looks like, the differences between Project based and Problem based Learning, the 8 essential elements of project design, and we worked together to develop a unique Essential Question for individual Projects.  Also, we familiarized ourselves with online tools and resources, as well as reflected and gave one another feedback to help move our projects forward.  Overall, it was an active day filled with inspiring people. Thanks to all who came and we can’t wait to continue our PBL Journey together. See you Tuesday, February 12th from 3-5pm, for some optional individualized work time.

Ellie, Amy, & Anupam

Project Based Learning at Smith Middle School

Ms. Bitar, 7th grade Science teacher shared her PBL experience as part of the first Cohort. She developed an interactive learning experience for her students to explore Newton’s 3rd law of Motion. She invited an expert, Mechanical Engineer from Ford Motor company to share some possible design ideas. Mr. Dempster brought authenticity to the project with his clay models and real world discussion.

The students were required to explore aspects of  Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion in order to design a vehicle.  The vehicle requirements were to travel forward (reaction) 1.5 meters by pushing backwards on the floor, the air, or some other object (action).

At the end of this project, students will demonstrates their vehicle’s motion and explain how the vehicle’s motion demonstrates Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion with evidence to support Newton’s 1st Law as well.

For more information about this lesson and many other Project Based Learning experiences, Visit the MyPD course: PBL

Our Next PBL Training Sessions will be this Saturday February 2nd, & February 23rd from 830-300. As well as an Optional planning and support day for more individualized feedback on February 12th from 3-5pm. Hope to see you there!

New PBL Cohort for Fall of 2018

Over the last few weeks, we have had the pleasure of creating another PBL cohort.  There were approximately 20 participants this round, which included 2 Saturdays and an optional Thursday  workday.  Participants learned about the different components of PBL, and then worked together to create PBL units that would be used in their classrooms.

Some of the topics of discussion were describing a 21st century student and the traits they might have, gold standard PBL projects, how to craft a great driving question, and building in formative assessments.  Our team was also able to refine their projects based on feedback offered throughout the cohort, and then submit their projects online.

While some projects have been completed, many are still a work in progress.  You can check them out under the appropriate tab at the top of the blog.  If you have questions, please feel free to contact any one of the presenters:

Amy Gwizdz- gwizdza@dearbornschools.org

Anupam Chugh- chugha@resa.net

Ellie Hammoud- hammoue@dearbornschools.org

three presenters stand in front of a screen