Students work independently and collaboratively in an inquiry-based learning environment that encourages finding creative solutions to authentic and complex problems.
Standard 1.2 Narrative
Fayetteville School students ranging in grades K-12 are involved daily in inquiry-based learning environments that promote mindset growth using STEAM activities, Engineering Design Process (EDP) lesson plans, PBL’s and cross curricular work. These environments not only encourage the student’s learning through collaborative and independent work to solve authentic and real world problems, but also engages the student’s in the process of creation and discovery in their learning environment. In elementary school, middle school and high school, students have enthusiastically accepted the challenge in their learning experience to take risks, create, revise and improve their designs or work. Students are free to collaborate their ideas with each other, put a plan in place and then use their voice to create a learning experience that is real world applicable along with providing skills that provide a foundation for the next level of learning. Our faculty has embraced the idea of networking and collaborating with each other to design the appropriate lessons for our learners and glean with pride in watching our learners in action as their thinking skills rise and solve complex problems in these inquiry based environments.
Area of Focus
As we delve deeper into authentic learning and real world situations, we must discover more opportunities for Voice and Choice for our student’s in their learning environment. The experience provided by the Fayetteville School faculty is strong and rich in collaboration and solving complex problems, but students need the ability to choose, and we need to work towards adding more opportunities for Voice and Choice.
To maintain and sustain our strength in providing authentic inquiry-based learning environments Fayetteville faculty will continue attending professional development, both at the local and district level. Fayetteville School will continue to incorporate professional development on our staff days. We will have days where teachers are given time to collaborate with each other on planning days in order to develop cross curricular plans, brainstorm ideas that will promote learning, engaging plans and Voice/Choice lessons. Digital Learning Specialist coaching will continue to cycle for teachers, with the Digital Learning Specialist scheduling time for one on one consultations to create, design and then be in classrooms to aid in implementation for inquiry based learning plans. Teachers will visit each other’s classrooms to observe and go to other schools to learn from observation and increase skills in content, STEAM and EDP development. Students will continue to be engaged in PBL’s, differentiated lessons, STEAM activities, and be provided with an environment that enables them to be creative, desire to learn through voice and choice and collaborate to develop their identity as life-long learners.
We plan to include our community in our growth process; we will have a STEAM night at school to create awareness of what our students are doing, learning, and providing collaboration opportunities for them as well. We want our community to become our partner in education, be guest speakers, career day presenters, business owners presenting their issues in today’s world, STEAM project partners, and outreach partners that our students can visit and experience a day in their life through field trips or virtual visits/skype chats.
Plans to Improve Area of Need
We need to develop activities, lessons and incorporate students in the ideas, and plans in where they have selections in the content that still meets the required standards but allows them the ability to make a choice, still collaborate in the inquiry based environment, solve authentic problems, but the choice will allow each student to feel a personalized investment in their learning which will promote growth in their knowledge.
Kindergarten students completed a Mystery Science Lesson on force in the McSteam Lab.
Students learned about force through a fun game of bowling. Students were able to be human bumpers to maximize force and aid in knocking down the bowling pins. In the second part of the lesson, students were charged with the task of saving a town from falling boulders by using the Engineering Design Process. Connecting their learning to the previous lesson, students designed a solution to save their town.
In physical education class, students were playing “ Toxic Waste”. The idea of the game was for students to understand how companies have to transport waste to designated locations to protect waterways.
Students were encouraged to use a specific number of items to transport the “toxic waste” (ball) down the court without dropping the ball to the floor. Each time the team was successful, they were to either transport one ball in their made contraption with one finger from each partner supporting the structure or adding a ball to the structure according to what level they had made it to. The students had to work collaboratively and quickly to transport, communication was key in solving how and what was the best plan to transport the “toxic waste” down the court.
Beach Houses and Hurricanes
During the 2018 school year Hurricane Michael, a Category 5 hurricane, devastated Mexico Beach. This destination is popular with some of our students and staff. The Science Club worked in engineering design teams to build beach houses that would withstand hurricane winds. The challenge/problem was one that required each team to work collaboratively and design a house that was well built. The teams researched house styles that are designed to withstand Category 5 winds. After construction, students used large fans to test the design of their houses. The teams developed creative homes that did not buckle when tested and thus solved the initial problem that was presented.
While in the McSTEAM lab, students were presented with a complex problem of creating new workspaces within the lab. In collaborative groups, they began to design new learning areas for the lab. They were asked to design and create, from cardboard, one piece of furniture that would assist in solving a need in the lab. After the groups had a plan in place and before they began construction, the McSTEAM facilitator had a guest, who builds furniture, visit the class via Google Hangout. Cody Conatser called in from Illinois to discuss furniture making with the students. He had examples of his work to share with them; he had a presentation that showed beautiful work he had created. Mr. Conatser also included pieces that did not turn out as planned. He discussed challenges that he encountered and how he used the Engineering Design Process to build his furniture. The Google Hangout concluded with a question and answer session. The following day the students came in and began constructing their furniture.
As eighth grade math students mastered new standards, their teacher hung the standard in a timeline format on the wall. Under each standard there were Quick Response (QR) codes that if scanned would take you to a student created WeVideo, ScreenCastify, or Flipgrid. Students worked collaboratively in the video to teach the audience the math concept. The video also contained a song or skit to help the audience remember the skill. The groups explained where their audience might see this math concept in the real-world. By creating these videos students were able to demonstrate creative solutions to authentic problems.
Budgeting Your Paycheck
Driving Question: Can you survive off of your paycheck?
Students created a real-life budget. In this project, students had to find if they can afford the lifestyle they have chosen. They had to select a job, family size, transportation, and housing. They were also responsible for food ,depending on the family size and utilities. Students had real life issues, chosen at random, that arise throughout the 3 month long budget such as: sickness, hospital stay, family events, and entertainment.
Students used Google Sheets to learn how to create a budget format and how to set up Google Sheets to do the calculations. After the project, the students had to write a summary in Google Docs answering authentic questions about the project including “Could you survive, with the lifestyle you have chosen, on your weekly paycheck?”
In 8th grade Pre AP (Advanced Placement) Physical Science, students were asked, “What elements do we encounter in real life that enrich our lives?” To answer this question, students worked independently researching facts and specifics on the families of the elements, and then collaborated with other students to assure all information was obtained. From there, the students began their inquiry to discover which elements make life better. Each student selected one element from the family of their choice from the periodic table and dove in to solve the problem. Students worked independently and with others to create the best ElementBook and three-dimensional model that demonstrates their findings for the specific element. The ElementBook was based loosely off of FaceBook design and personified the element to “post” uses and examples of their importance to life for us.
The students shared their products with the class, and others, striving to inform, and answer the problem in creative, yet authentic way.
Predicting reaction rates in Physical Science, students’ work collaboratively in an inquiry-based activity to solve the question “what factors affect reaction rates”. Students worked in quads and first made predictions of what they thought the reaction rates would be depending upon the conditions they chose- temperature increase or decrease, or addition of another substance. Next, each quad designed an experiment to test reaction rates and finally, each quad ran their experiments to test their predictions. Students worked collaboratively to run their tests, collect data and determine conclusions, deciding if their predictions were on target or not. This inquiry style science lab enables students to work through authentic, complex problems by realizing that all chemical reactions are governed by a reaction rate that is dependent upon temperature, pressure, concentration of chemical species, and the presence of enzymes of catalysts. Whether cooking in your kitchen or making chemicals in a factory, understanding reaction rates will allow you to produce the results you want.
Students were given the task of assisting Fayetteville administration with planning tree removal around the campus. The height of the trees needed to be determined for safety during the removal process. In order to determine the height students made clinometers using protractors, drinking straws, string and a weight. They had to use the clinometers to determine the angle of elevation from the ground to the top of the tree and then determine the distance they were standing from the base of the tree. They figured the height of the tree and then determined the safest direction for the tree to fall, to prevent property damage, during removal. This is a great application of using creative solutions to solve complex problems that relate to real life situations.
Properties of Geometry
During the first unit of PreAP Geometry, students investigated properties of points, lines, line segments, distance, and bisectors with a partner using Geogebra software. This allowed students to see how each part works together by being able to manipulate items on their screen.
Geometry students use straws to represent lines, index cards to represent planes, and holes punched in the index cards to represent points. They manipulated the items to investigate the intersections of lines with other lines, lines with planes, and planes with planes.
Students engaged in this inquiry based lesson to begin learning how a surveyor, surveys property. Students were better prepared while researching the work done by surveying companies. The students used their knowledge to preform a mock survey on campus.
The Last Supper - PBL for Anatomy and Physiology
Students were given the real life task of using their knowledge of macromolecules to help determine the place where a murder victim ate their last meal.
Entry event: Students found a body outline with vomit next to it in the lab. Upon finding this in the lab, Officer Steele came in and commissioned the students to test the vomit for the victim’s last meal. He could then use this evidence to go talk to the workers at that restaurant and find out about the victim’s last few hours.
Students collaborated in the lab and used science skills to test macromolecules.
Students then wrote their groups Claim-Evidence-Reason and recorded them to flip grid for the rest of the class to collaborate. The whole class used this collaboration to come up with one Claim-Evidence-Reason answering the question- Where did John Doe eat his last supper?
End Product: Claim-Evidence-Reasoning report was given to Officer Steele.