PBL in Action

By: Principal Marilyn Lane

P – B – L …. We use those letters often to describe learning at CBA. But what do we mean when we say them? PBL stands for Project Based Learning. PBL is a teaching method in which students become problem solvers, learning by seeking to see real needs faced by real people and doing real work to solve them as they become world changers. The learning students encounter is designed to be relevant and authentic to their lives, challenging them to seek to understand how they can serve and love others. Students no longer learn just from a book; rather, they research, collaborate with other students, and welcome guidance from teachers and other experts. To complete a project may take days, weeks, or even months as  students read, write, and learn important academic content, concepts, and skills along the way. As they learn, students begin to experience how important input from others is as they graciously give and accept critique with the intent of learning from failures as well as from successes. They are challenged and guided to produce excellent work, reflecting on not only what they know or have already done, but also asking questions to find ways that they can continue to improve as they prepare to present their learning to others. Joy exudes from the classrooms as students are active and creative, becoming part of God’s grand story of redeeming love.

Recently, during the Grade 3 PBL unit, students began to wonder about the beautifully and wonderfully created-by-God human body. In Spanish they began to ask, “Si quiero cambiar el mundo, ¿cómo puedo mantenerme saludable para poder servir a los demás?” (“If I want to be a world changer, how can I keep healthy so that I can serve others?”) But before they could understand what it took for a body to remain healthy, they needed to understand how the body was made. Students explored cells, comparing and contrasting the animal cell and plant cell, learning the major parts in Spanish so that they could explain it to others. But then they realized there was something even smaller than a cell that told each cell what to be and do – DNA! As students examined the intricacies of DNA, they asked and sought answers to their questions: ¿Qué es el ADN? (What is DNA?) ¿Dónde encontramos el ADN? (Where do we find the DNA? ). ¿Por qué soy similar a mi mamá y a mi papá? (Why am I similar to my mom and dad?) ¿Qué nucleótidos forman el ADN? (What nucleotides make up DNA?) Crees que el ADN es asombroso, ¿por qué crees que Dios, el creador de todo, puso el ADN en nosotros? (You think DNA is amazing, why do you think God, the Creator of everything, put DNA in us?) To demonstrate their understanding, students built a DNA model and presented their thinking.

 Now students are ready to move on and explore the various systems that make up the body as they seek to ask and answer more questions, learning how to keep healthy themselves and encourage others to keep healthy so that together we are able to serve and love one another and become world changers! Be on the lookout for the CBA Wellness Fair at the end of the semester!

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