A Tale of Two Projects: Students’ Perspectives

How is learning mathematics in a Project-Based school different from learning math in a non-Project-Based school?

  • Learning mathematics in a project-based school makes math so much easier to actually learn, because the teachers really care and take their time to teach us. We also get to learn with others and learn how to cooperate with them as a group to make a great, successful project.
  • Learning mathematics at a Project-Based school is way different than learning math from a non-Project-Based school because you get to put the math to the test. The way we learn math at Cedars isn’t a normal worksheet with math problems and you just do it. It has many elements to it that can teach you how math in fact is used in daily life and is a very important tool to know. Using math in real life or job like situations helps get me more enthusiastic about learning math, these projects teach me that math isn’t useless at all and isn’t just needed for college and school.
  • I never thought I would do projects based on math, I thought you could on do projects in science honestly. I feel we get to apply math to real life things and see how math correlates with a lot. For example, it applies to ballistics and running.

 

What was your favorite math project so far?  Why did this project work for you?

  • My favorite math project was actually the one we just finished. It was called sports science and we had one of our team members run on a track while another one of our members chased them with an iPad. It was really fun and funny. We got to compare Usain Bolt with our member that ran and calculate the velocity, acceleration, and create the regression equation.
  • My favorite math project is the one that I’m currently in now. The project is about building a parachute and calculating square root functions that model the hang time of the custom built parachute using both technology and your brain. I like this project because it’s very hands on, I enjoy first-hand experiences, I tend to learn best from them. With this project you get to build, which is always fun, and test your parachutes, then proceed to calculate the free fall hang time. This isn’t a simple worksheet with boring pre-written numbers that don’t change, with this project you get to watch what you built and collect data like real mathematicians and scientist do! While gathering data we will have to average it out before doing to hang time equation known as: “t=the square root of: 2xh/g”. Also even though we’re not done with this project, I can still tell that this will work great for me, due to the fact that I already know the hang time equation and we’re not 1 full day into this project yet!
  • My favorite project was the NERFallistics project. Because it wasn’t too complicated until towards the end but I knew how we were applying the math and I had fun doing it in the process. (Note: In the NERFalistics project, we gathered NERF trajectory data and used polynomial functions to model it.)

 

Make a list of good teaching / learning strategies that you’ve experienced in ANY OF YOUR classes and describe why these are helpful.

  • I learn very well when I get constructive criticism from my teachers and classmates. My teachers sometimes make us write out “Next Steps” for other people’s projects after they’ve presented them, so they can get feedback on how they can make their project better.
  • PBL, is:
    • number 1. In every class all we do for work is projects, doing projects gives you the first hand experience and it’s never easy. It makes you think and have to look for things for yourself just like how you would in the real world, nothing is handed to you, the teachers provide an opening question/statement and the rest is up to you. It sounds hard at first but everything is definitely very possible to find if you work for it!
    • For number 2, it would be how teachers never say anything straight forward. Just like how I listed in the first one, all projects start off with a base question or statement. When given these, you have to answer it on your own, the teacher’s last resort is to give you the answer to anything. This is helping all of us at this school get very prepared for college life where nothing at all is handed to you, it also helps with confidence in yourself too! Knowing that you are capable of finding any information that you put your mind to is very reassuring, and can help a lot on the daily basis.
  • I like how with Algebra 2 and Physics we get to have a practice test before we take the actual test to prepare us better. It is helpful because then I will know what I need to cover to pass the test. In P.E. we get to pick whatever physical skill/sport we actually want to learn. This is helpful because I don’t have to be forced into playing some sport or game I don’t want to, I get to decide what I do physically that I feel comfortable. I like how we do a bunch of different styles of learning integrated together so that everyone’s learning styles is met and helpful because I get my learning style needs met and what I’m taught stays in my head better.

 

What advice would you offer to a teacher who is new to Project-Based Learning?  Explain why your advice is important to the success of teachers and students.

  • I would say just try to be really patient and give us kids your time. I’ve learned that patience really is the key, because if you’re not patient with your peers it causes more conflict, than there needs to be. I love project based learning, because I feel like I really get what I’m learning and I always feel very successful after doing a presentation I took my time and effort in doing.
  • My advice is, take everything slowly. Ease into everything, do not provide answers first, always do that last because getting your students to think and getting their brains working always helps. Another thing that would help is, not providing a rubric as soon as a new project is launched. In college you don’t get rubrics immediately handed to you, so this will help with forming outlines, and preparation. This helps me personally a lot because you get to make the learning style that is best suited for you, sometimes having a rubric can throw you off and make you work in one fashion, without a rubric you can form your own outline, go to whatever websites you wish, watch videos, everything that suits your learning style and gets the research/job done!
  • My advice is don’t get into a project that’s too complicated for the students unless and to make sure the students have the skills to finish the project. Like if they don’t know how to construct a rocket at all, to do a demo or do a big workshop on it. And while getting into this style of teaching, have fun!

 

To see more blog articles related to these projects go here: A Tale of Two Projects.

Source: PBLIFE

February 15, 2017

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