Choosing a Project Idea for PBL

If you saw my last post, then you know that I have been considering different projects to implement in my classroom for PBL. Rather than choose one of those project ideas for EdTech 542, I went with the idea of human need and choice. I wanted a project that was entirely my own, because then I know that I have put sufficient thought into every aspect of it.

My project will have three parts. In part one, students will create a fictional civilization on a new, earth-like planet. They will have access to the same natural resources we find on Earth, but they will not be able to import anything to the planet. The only existing technology they will be able to access is the ship’s computer, which contains all of the information we have on Earth. Students will need to solve people’s needs in order of importance. Then they can move onto solving the next greatest need.

In part two, students will analyze literature for the character’s needs. They will look at how the character’s needs determine their choices. They will look for how needs affect motive and how setting affects needs. Essentially, they will analyze how a character’s needs affect every aspect of the story: plot, setting, characterization, theme, etc.

In part three, students will find a local person (or group) in need and organize a service project to help that person (or group).

For this part of the assignment, I studied Driving Questions. A good driving question is engaging for the students, is open-ended, and applicable to more than just one situation or time-period, and it teaches the content standards. Two of the resources I especially found useful were a webinar by BIE on creating and refining the Driving Question, and a blog post by Grant Wiggins. Both resources focused on making the question truly open-ended. Wiggins says, “The best essential questions can be used for both topical inquiries and long-term recurring investigations that signal overarching ideas and intellectual priorities.

To organize my ideas for the project, I have chosen to use Coggle. I like it, because it is a large canvas for my ideas. I like how the ideas link also. However, I have found it difficult to make changes, AND at one point I shrunk the entire thing so that it was too small to read and I have no idea how I did it, or how I fixed it. The controls are not as obvious as I would like.

Here is the link to my project website.

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