2 Scoops of Kindergarten

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Project Based Learning: Butterfly Garden

This year Kindergarten jumped into a Project Based Learning (PBL) lesson! At first I was a little nervous about this....was kindergarten able to handle a less structured project?....were they going to buy into it and be excited....were we going to get this done in time for the end of the year?  So many questions but we went ahead and plunged in and boy we were so glad we did!
I felt it was effective and at the same time such an enjoyable way of teaching! So here is my experience from April til the beginning of June. I will be exploring it some more this summer and checking out more training, as well as investigating this curricular model.
What is PBL?  The Buck Institute (the PBL gurus) define Project Based Learning as "a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to a complex question, problem, or challenge."  You can check out more about PBL here, but the big components of a true PBL project are quality content, 21st century skills, inquiry, a solid driving question, need to knows, voice and choice, revision and reflection, and a public audience.

Here is my journey into PBL:
It worked out that we were studying the life cycle of a butterfly. We did some great activities in the Butterfly Bundle from Kelly and Kim Kreations.
and read many stories about butterflies. We watched as the caterpillars turned into butterflies when this question came up from the students, "Where are the butterflies going to live when we let them go?" Well, I did not have a clear answer for them. Some students had butterfly gardens at home and talked a little bit about their gardens. Will our butterflies stay at our school??? So...our big question was...How can we attract butterflies to Butterfield School? This question fueled many of our lessons for the rest of the school year.  
The other kindergarten class joined us in our project and so did our Technology Specialist. 
Our Tech Specialist downloaded our progress using the site called Trello  (https://trello.com/)
 Both teachers could also access and add to this site. It is free and I would absolutely try it out.(You will see this in action in our imovie below)


 We started out with a class discussion and a KWL chart. What did we know about butterflies and gardens? What did we need to attract butterflies and who should we ask our question to? What did we need to do first? 
We decided our first thing we needed to do was ask our Principal if we can have a butterfly garden at our school? We wrote letters and delivered them to her. After getting the o.k. we needed to find a location for our garden. We were in luck! There was a courtyard that was not used - we could make this educational for the whole school!
Not very pretty yet!



Next, we needed to ask questions from others to find out what exactly we needed to attract butterflies so we could add them to our garden. We wrote letters to Home Depot (they did fund part of our project) and researched. We paired the kindergartners up using an ipad and gave them a packet where they could write down what they learned. We used the app  for Symbaloo. Here is the site http://www.symbaloo.com/  It is a free account. Click here to see our symbaloo.


For additional information we went to The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. They have a beautiful butterfly garden there!  
We were ready to plant and water! Kindergarten finalized our project by putting together this imovie and giving tours of our butterfly garden to our parents, grandparents and administrators! Watch our imovie! :)


https://docs.google.com/a/sd44.org/file/d/0B62JDxULreOZNjl6QWU4elN2Z2c/edit
This is a work in progress!


 

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