I teach 4th-grade students at a Title I elementary school focusing on learning major science concepts such as force and motion, energy transfers, animal adaptations, erosion, and many more. We have a very high percentage of special education students and English-language learners (ELL). In addition to tackling complex topics in science, my students face many other challenges such as poverty, hunger, homelessness, and abuse. Ninety-seven percent of our student population qualify for free or reduced lunch. Despite the problems they face, this group of students continuously impresses me with their positive attitudes, creativity, and eagerness to learn.
They are our future engineers and scientists in the making!
Traditionally our energy unit is the hardest for students to comprehend during the year. The unit consists of force and motion, energy transfers, wave properties, electricity, energy sources, and types of energy (sound, light, heat, motion, solar, etc.). The area my kiddos seem to struggle with the most is electricity and circuits. I believe project-based learning experiences will help them overcome their difficulties with this area.
Project-based learning improves problem-solving and collaboration skills.
The goal of this project is to provide hands-on, small-group experiences to better aid my students with gaining, retaining and applying new content. I selected the classic Snap Circuits because of its variety of circuitry projects. Students will improve their problem-solving skills by creating AM radios, burglar alarms, doorbells, parallel circuits, series circuits, and more.
The ability to relate their learning to real-world situations and familiar ideas helps my students to make connections and bridge learning gaps. William Butler Yates once said, "Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." Project-based learning is a great avenue for igniting a passion for learning within my students.
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