Now that we’ve had time to let all the turkey digest and we look towards the last few weeks of a semester, I wanted to share another technique we use for our PBL classes.
One of the cornerstones of project-based learning is having projects live in the real world. We all know what it is like to spend time constructing a poster board or a tri-fold of information that is called a project, but will be tossed in the trash the moment the semester or year is over. To give our projects life we have students participate in a biannual exposition-style night of presentations for their parents, community, and community leaders. We simple call it, The Expo.
In about a week and a half we will hold the first one of our second year in PBL. This year will show our growth as we will have around 100 students participate. Students will set up expo-style booths that will demonstrate one of their many projects of the semester and give mini-presentations to their community throughout the intriguing night. Students dress professionally and present to their parents and local leaders to demonstrate their knowledge. It is an almost magical night when I usually feel like a proud papa while watching student thrive in front of their elders. Students tend to enjoy the experience too. Its always fun to show off in front of others.
We’ve found that this is a perfect way to make the projects real and tangible to all stakeholders. It makes some of the frustrations of working with PBL in such a large group completely worth the effort. The students always blow me away.
This year we will have several community leaders including our mayor and our principal participate in being guest judges of the night. This will give us some needed community feedback on the event, and give our at times biased view of the students a different view point as well. We’re excited about this new element in this years expo.
The event is open to the community, so if you’re in the area feel free to join us on December 8th!