Yesterday our team held a "meeting of the minds" using Elluminate to attempt to identify the guiding question for our PBL unit. Following the first meeting a few weeks ago, the team assembled a very impressive list of possible questions and topics surrounding the theme sustainability. Topics included students' roles in environmentalism, comparing/contrasting carbon footprints to those in other schools, connecting with schools in other countries to compare our impacts on the environment, research around energy consumption, video/documentary creation, trash or treasure?, and so much more! This made our role of identifying a burning question to drive our PBL unit quite the tricky business.
How do we design a unit that meets the needs of a K-12 student audience? How do we guide their thinking without stifling the inquiry process? Don't we want students asking the big questions?
After much discussion, we decided that we'll begin by identifying this driving question: How can I make a difference? Broad? Yes. But, we're going to use student voices to help us refine our goals for the unit. Each teacher will go back to her students and hold a brainstorming session, asking them to provide input about what this question means to them. By doing so, we believe students themselves will be responsible for shaping the PBL unit, to make it as passion-driven and powerful for students as it can be.
Teachers will be commenting on this post to share the results of their student brainstorming sessions, and we'll begin to see our project come to life!