As soon as stay-at-home orders switched daily school to remote education from home, Kathleen Shook, third grade teacher at The Learning Center Charter School, immediately switched gears on how to continue enriching E-STEAM and PBL projects for her remote class. As a result, students embarked on an extensive project based on lost cities of the world.
A targeted E-STEAM education approach ensures students engage in science, technology, engineering and math regularly. PBL is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an authentic, complex question, problem, or challenge.
The premise of the lost cities project came from a book the class read together about cities in history that are no longer inhabited either by means of disappearance, natural disaster, or mysterious episode. Students researched lost cities and chose ones to focus on depending on their interests. Petra, Atlantis and Great Zimbabwe were popular choices.
At the conclusion of the project, students designed and built models of their chosen lost city. Many used recycled materials while others used both technology and materials found in nature to build outside forts.
“Not being able to be in the same room with my students is challenging to be able to gauge how my students are delving into a subject,” said Shook. “However, I know from experience that PBL projects like this harness student curiosity and allow a deeper exploration and understanding of studies.”
The lost cities project included science, reading, writing and social studies components.
“What we could have learned about lost cities in one lesson on one day is nothing compared to the deeply engaged learning that we participated in during our PBL unit with lost cities as our overall theme,” said Shook.
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