This summer I had the opportunity to go to PBL World and the Technology Centers That Work Conference. I focused my learning on creating and implementing project-based learning in my carpentry class. Going in I felt that I did projects in my class that students enjoyed and learned carpentry skills and knowledge. One of the first things I learned (or realized) is that I can take what I am already doing and enhance it.
How I would enhance a project would be to add research, have students make decisions on their learning, and make their learning visible. An example of this is building a deck on our project house. Previously, I would provide students with a plan and have them build the deck. From what I learned over the summer is that I can have the students research deck designs, the location on the house (north, east, south, west), current trends, building codes, POA requirements, cost, etc. From what they learn they can design a deck for the project. I then can let the students share ideas and designs with the class and select a design or combination of designs to be built on the house. After the decisions are made the students then would build the deck. By adding the elements to the deck project, the students take ownership in the deck and obtain knowledge in areas that would not be covered in the standard deck project.
Randy Barnes | Carpentry/Construction Technology at Excelsior Springs Area Career Center
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