A new year means new project-based lessons in Lower School. Most grades are in the exciting initial stages of their new units. “Students are interested in learning if topics are meaningful to them,” says Lower School Division Head Bridget Henderson. “By starting out each unit with Phase 1: Making Personal Connections, students are able to draw from their own experiences to bring relevance to any subject.” During Phase II, students investigate and research their topic by participating in field trips and learning from guest speakers. Finally, during the last phase students share what they have learned with their classmates and families.
The students have started the year with exciting new topics. You can learn more about the projects below. We know you are going to love the final presentations!
Oviparous – producing eggs that develop and hatch outside the maternal body Merriam-Webster dictionary
Episcopal kindergarteners will soon know the definition of oviparous. That’s because they just started a project-based unit on animals. Recently, students had the opportunity to learn from the experts at the Baton Rouge Zoo who brought animals to the Greer Center.
Three little pigs and Jack and the beanstalk. A look down the first grade hall confirms that it is time for the annual enchanted engineering unit. Students analyze classic fairy tales and think about the engineering involved. For example, students discuss whether a straw house or a brick house can withstand strong winds. Look out for the big bad wolf!
Students recently had an opportunity to learn more about wildlife in Antarctica and how researchers live on this frozen continent. LSU PhD student Maddie Myers spent three months in Antarctica studying snow and living in a tent in the Dry Valley region. Students were thrilled to learn more about her adventures. How do you get your food? How long does it take to get there? Why is some of the ice not covering the rocks? These are just a few of the questions the students asked. Students are learning about the continents and will continue exploring throughout the unit. By the way, an average emperor penguin grows to 45 inches tall and weighs up to 88 pounds.
Third graders are in the beginning stages of learning the principles of business. The lesson is sure to spark their interest in entrepreneurship. Look for an exciting Phase III when students showcase what they’ve learned! Third graders already learned about Louisiana's culture and traditions in a project-based unit earlier this school year. Students enjoyed a field trip to the Old State Capitol.
Yellowstone. Denali. Crater Lake. Episcopal fourth graders were eager to share everything they learned about our national parks during the finale of their national park unit. Students shared facts about park landforms, animals and climate. However, there was much more to the project. Numerous students said their favorite aspect of the project was putting the presentation slides together, making clay models or brainstorming ideas on how to stop problems such as littering at the parks. The national park unit is a comprehensive study and includes field trips to the Waddill Outdoor Education Center and LASM. BREC Superintendent Corey Wilson even stopped by Episcopal to speak with students about the importance of parks for a community. Of course, he brought along some of his friends!
Fifth graders are learning about their place in the global community and the impact they can have on others. As the school year progresses, the teachers will continue to relate class material to this global theme. In English, students read the book “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer. In science, they learned more about wind energy and other forms of renewable energy during hands-on activities. In April, the lesson will culminate in the annual global marketplace showcasing everything students learned.
Project-based learning is a meaningful way to learn, no matter the grade. This way of learning encourages exploration and discovery. It also boosts student confidence and helps them develop a lifelong love of learning. Isn’t that exactly what a school should be doing?