So here we are at the end of the first week. Lyssa Zawalski and I decided to start the year with a short project to both assess and demonstrate to our MPX 10 learners the elements of a project. After much consideration of Lyssa’s strengths and interests as well as mine we decided to look at Water – in particular Drinking Water Quality (Get the title of this post? Little tongue in cheek). We really thought this would give us a chance to explore the processes of PBL as well as tie to broad themes we are interested in: Social Justice, Economics and worldwide issues in access, Chemistry and the properties of matter. The final goal will be for students to tackle an actual water issue in the real world (say, lead in the water), understand the causes and problems of the issue, find ways to remediate the issue and present their results to a mock council panel charged with addressing the issue for the community. All of this in 2 weeks. Challenge!
So to get started, we had the students consider the water in Manoa Valley. We looked at an historical accounting of the valley – who lived here, what they did, etc. The stream that runs through our valley was the life blood of agriculture and water for all uses. We took a walking tour down the stream to see what it looks like today and took pictures of it as well as samples to test. The first question we wanted the students to consider was “Would YOU drink this water?”
We spent time asking questions like “What things might be in the water?” and “How could we make sure the water is drinkable?”. The students generated responses to this. The students were introduced to a water quality test packet and we did testing of a variety of substances: Nitrates, Iron, Coliform Bacteria, etc. The goal here was to get thinking about what things we might really need to make sure are known to help them think about the bigger picture they will face next week.
Along the way they did process activities like jigsaw reading, consensus building, giving feedback, reading and following instructions, attentive listening, taking a personality inventory and considering what that means, reflective blogging and presenting results. All in all it was a busy and exciting week of work as we look forward to more extensive project work coming up later this month.
One last note, we also did a little STEM challenge on day one to work towards building a project together – the goal was to create the biggest span using 20 popsicle sticks supported by two rubber stoppers (challenge here). We did have team set a new record!
Imua! (Onward and Upward)
PS I will try to add a few pictures when posting this year, but I keep all of my MPX 10 pictures on a Flickr page here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskBEg7oR