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Standard 1.6

The interdisciplinary problem-based curriculum includes a focus on real world problems.

Standard 1.6 Narrative

Strength


Students at Fayetteville School can be observed in student-centered learning groups that expand beyond the traditional four walls with students researching information and examining possible solutions to real world problems. Rather than fragmented learning in each content area, students at Fayetteville School utilize multiple areas of content to solve complex problems. Students in grades kindergarten through twelfth work together to solve problems of priority to them or the community. Teachers intentionally plan and develop rich, in-depth learning environments where students are constructing knowledge as they research possible solutions.

 

Sustain

 

Fayetteville School will sustain the work of providing interdisciplinary problem-based curriculum based on real world applications by perfecting and refining current lessons and designing new lessons that are insights into the problems occurring in the world around us. Also we plan to sustain our work by continuing to collaborate with colleagues from all content areas when planning and executing these lessons.

Area of Focus 

 

Successful PBL lessons are planned well in advance. Planning for interdisciplinary problem-based lessons/activities that are engaging and purposeful takes a significant amount of time. Providing ample time to collaborate, research, and prepare for these engaging lessons and activities is an area in need of improvement.

Plans to Improve Area of Need

In order to facilitate successful implementation of cross-curricular PBLs and real-world STEM activities, greater effort will be made to arrange the teacher schedule to allow for common planning and collaboration among colleagues. We will also periodically embed PBL planning time into the regular school day in addition to regular planning periods.  We will continue to grow our partnerships with community stake-holders and encourage these community members to visit classrooms and share their insights into topics that we study offering us a professional view of how these problems affect businesses and industries in our area.

Key Exemplars

Elementary

Level Up Village

3D CAD Design Water Crisis Solutions

Students were given the ultimate opportunity to communicate and collaborate with other children around the world. Through the project Level Up Village, third graders were able to partner up with a child from Uganda or Guatemala. To begin their research, students determined how much freshwater is available on Earth. Water needs in our country were determined and found that we were wasteful and did not really have any true needs. Through video exchanges, students go to know one another. Some videos needed language translations, and this language barrier coupled with cultural differences helped students learn how to be clear when communicating their ideas and listening to others. 

 

Next students determined what were the water needs of the children in Uganda. Many girls had to walk three times a day to carry water to their village. The children of Guatemala needed rain catchment tools. Their water was shut off during the day due to the lack of water in the community. Our students used Blocks CAD (3D modeling software) to design something that would help them carry more water each time so that they would be able to have more time in school.  These designs were shared with the child from Uganda so that they could collaborate on how to improve the design. 

 

Students 3D printed a design of a water filtration device that is actually used by the community in Uganda. To demonstrate their learned, students presented to the community at the Talladega County Technology Showcase.

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Flood Barriers Steam Challenge

 

Students were learning about the effects of natural disasters.  They learned that flood barriers could be created to help stop floods from reaching or damaging homes.  First, they researched and found a story about a third grade boy who lived in Louisiana. His home had experienced severe floods, and his family had to evacuate.  They also completed a Nearpod lesson with a reading passage called “Li Bing and the Flooding”. Li Bing used Habit #4 ,Think Win-Win, to create a flood barrier that sent flood waters from one area to another area in need of water.  

 Next, students completed a virtual field trip on Nearpod to locations that had experienced different natural disasters. After students learned how important and hard it is to stop flooding from damaging homes, they completed a STEAM challenge to create successful flood barriers.  During this challenge, students used the five steps of the engineering design process. With this challenge, the students worked to create a successful flood barrier using only certain materials and a limited budget. They learned how to evaluate their flood barriers and determine if they were successful or needed improvements.  Using the Engineering Design Process, students were able to reflect upon what worked and what didn’t work with their first flood barrier. The students also worked in cooperative groups to create Google Slides to explain and present their learning to explain and present their solution to a real-world problem.

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Bridge Design

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Teachers at Fayetteville High School know that students need tasks that connect to the real world. First, students learned about bridge design, researching and discussing what shapes and designs can be seen in real bridges.  Students collaborated to brainstorm and engineer a bridge made of paper that would hold a given number of pennies. They used the Engineering Design Process to reconfigure their designs after they tested their first creation and observed the results of others’ designs. Teachers know that when students go back to the drawing board and improve their work through the EDP, the quality of results greatly improves. Students were given the opportunity to redesign, changing materials, shapes, and angles as they felt it needed. The friendly, yet competitive environment was enjoyable and engaging for students. The end products provided evidence that students were able to apply their new learning to real-world applications.

Middle School

For Sale

Students have been researching and constructing tiny houses in math enrichment. To continue the learning, brochures were created in reading class to sell the tiny home. Brochures included selling features such as square feet, storage options, and pricing. This interdisciplinary project offered students opportunities to make meaningful connections and demonstrate the value of multiple subjects in a real world problem.  This connection to the real world helps students understand why what they are learning is useful beyond the classroom.

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Revive Birmingham

Middle school students were tasked with the authentic problem of revivilizing Birmingham.  Many students visit the city of Birmingham for entertainment, medical care, and extracurricular activities.  Students wanted to bring more positive resources into the city to improve safety, commerce, and the livelihood of Birmingham residents.  Students were grouped so that they could work collaboratively, share ideas, exchange thoughts and ultimately develop strong solutions that will be solid ways to revive Birmingham for their project.The students created flyers on Canva to advertise their ideas for revitalization.   Students created a website to send to Mayor Randall Woodfin and the “Rev B’ham” group to showcase their proposals and findings.

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Making the Grade

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Students in middle school science completed the “Making the Grade” project in order to be able to connect slope utilized in math and science with slope used in the real world.   The project was designed to help students see that slope is not merely “rise over run” on graph paper, but slope also represents a physical concept. Students were tasked with measuring the slope of wheelchair ramps at our high school football field to ensure these ramps comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines.  Students had to ensure the wheelchair ramps did not have a slope greater than 1:12.

High School

High Schoolers become Teachers

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High school physical science students taught elementary students about the engineering design process and its applications to the real world.  The physical science students collaborated together to develop age-appropriate lesson plans to teach the scientific method to 2nd and 4th-grade students and also to provide these students how to use the scientific method to solve problems in everyday life.

Toothpick Bridges 

Interdisciplinary curriculum and focusing on real world applications is important to build skills that are both college and career ready.  Students that can master curriculum and understand how the principles apply to the real world, are those that will be employable and will help to establish longevity in the ever changing world in which they live.  In order to get students to associate the classroom curriculum with real world applications, physical science students took the concepts of force, gravity, and Newton’s laws to solve the challenge that stated “build a bridge that can withstand the force of a coded Sphero to travel the distance of the bridge”.   Under certain parameters and resources, students collaborated, designed, and built miniature bridges that were replicas of the types of bridges we encounter in real life. In the design and construction phase, students and their teammates had to determine which forces would play a part in their bridge and the Sphero going across, just as Engineers do for building bridges in the real world.

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Attendance Matters

 

Talladega County Schools has developed an attendance campaign to increase daily student attendance. Fayetteville School joined this campaign so to improve student attendance and success in school. As educators, we know that it is crucial to convey to students the importance of regular school attendance to children and how frequent absences can damage their future.

Students in Career Technical education classes worked with their teacher to design a required “clock in” procedure to track and monitor daily attendance. This process simulates clocking in for work in the “real world.”

App2 is loaded on an iPad with class rosters. Each student is given a QR code as their “time card” and must scan it as they enter the classroom.

The “clocking in” procedure has expanded to the front office of Fayetteville School, and now students who have off campus responsibilities such at the CO-OP program or college classes “clock in” or “clock out” as they enter and leave the building.

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