Project-based learning can encompass a wide range of academic subjects during the course of a single project. So while the finished products are often spectacular, the learning process itself is the primary goal.
For example, for second graders who built this scale model of the Titanic, the model itself was a culmination of weeks of immersion in history, sociology, geography, and oceanography of the early 1900s. The model is fantastic, however, what the students learned about research, world history and mathematics of scale is the less tangible but more important "product."
The same class, now curious about oceanography, later did a project on coral reef ecosystems. Questions and interests raised from one project often open doors to other projects, with academic skills growing in the process.
8th Grade Documentary
on Covid-19 Pandemic
Our 2020 Murder of Crows class made a documentary on how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected community residents, local businesses, students, and teachers. They interviewed local experts, including OPRF Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Liz Holt, and Loyola University epidemiologist Dr. David Shoham, and several local business owners. During the project, they met with professional documentary filmmakers, Dan Andries and Anne Northrup, and also planned ways to promote their documentary both to and beyond the TCS community.
Here are slideshow galleries, weblinks, and more of student work that illustrate the depth and breadth some of our class projects may take. Click the arrows on the photo to view more slides.
Click here to visit a website our 8th graders made to present a series of podcasts they produced on discrimination in the workplace. The podcast project was part of a semester class study on the broader topic of discrimination.
The 2nd graders and their teacher, Ms. Christina Martin, were fascinated by space and space travel. They decided to turn their classroom into a working space colony on Mars.
In Our Own WORLDS
THE HUMAN BODY PROJECT
The 3rd graders and their teacher, Ms Angela Whitacre, embarked on an exploration of the human body, learning all about each major organ and tissue system, and how they work together. The project culminated in building a life-size three-dimensional anatomical model using a mannequin and a variety of household and arts and crafts items made into replicas of organs, bones, muscles a circulatory system, and more.
Click here to visit a website created by 6th graders as part of a multi-faceted project exploring social disconnection in modern society. They examined the role that social media plays in feelings of isolation, conducted multiple surveys, and engaged in outreach activities to create and strengthen meaningful human interactions in their school community.
In Our Own WORLDS
For their class project, 8th graders planned, filmed, and produced a documentary on the benefits of making education enjoyable for students and ways that schools can ensure students stay engaged. They held a public screening, and planned how to use the film as a resource for future educators.
Virtual Equity in
Originally planned as an event in our Gym, this 8th Grade Capstone Project went virtual with the advent of Covid-19 social distancing. Learning how to prepare an host a video-conference became part of the project learning!
When 7th graders were curious about protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline, they embarked on a social studies exploration of Native American rights, the history of treaties in the United States, and an examination of oil transportation issues. The class broke into two groups and held a debate on whether the pipeline should be relocated based on treaty and environmental concerns. The entire middle school listened to the debate. Other students were able to address questions to those who presented the issues.