Monday, January 23, 2017

Keeping our Chemistry PBL Relevant: Week 3

Here is the third installment in a series of posts that will reflect on the chemistry PBL my PLC is trying this semester. Our students are creating infographics to explain the relevant chemistry of any topic they choose. The topics they chose are listed above in the word cloud. You can read the first two posts here and here. So far we have used a BreakoutEdu challenge as our entry event and used a BuzzFeed quiz to form groups. During our third week, it was time to settle on a topic, choose an infographic tool, and start researching.

Before we got down to the nitty-gritty of the topic, I wanted to do a quick group exercise to encourage group collaboration. I read this post on Sara VanDerWerf's blog and it sounded awesome, so I decided to give the 100 numbers task a try. It was awesome! 

As she reports, all the groups were able to identify more numbers the second time through the task. In addition, I observed that the groups were quieter with heads closer together and using strategies they created the second time through the task. Look at the photo on the left of students working on the task the first time. In the photo on the right, where they are working through the task a second time, they have created a smaller workspace, their hands are all closer to the task, and they look more focused. We talked quickly about what adjustments groups made in order to be more successful. Hopefully they will apply those things during the remainder of the PBL.

Then we watched a brief video about what an infographic is. I was worried that I was using that term like we all know what it means (infographics are everywhere in edcuation it seems). I also liked the video because it emphasized what makes a good infographic. Here is the video we watched:

Then I gave groups the rest of the time to narrow their focus and begin researching. Our web designers and graphic designers were encouraged to review tools for making infographics and our project managers and researchers were encouraged to focus on content for the topics.

Next week they will have the bulk of the class period to start to create their infographics with a gallery walk of rough drafts and focused comments at the end of the period. We hope to wrap up the whole project after two more class periods.

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE how you embrace a true PBL approach in setting students loose to research infographic tools and content. SO much more authentic than handing them a list of tools and websites where they can find content.