6th Grade Steam Project Based Learning: Will You Survive?

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6th Grade Steam Project Based Learning: Will You Survive?

Isabella Terzoli, Social Media Manager

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The 6th grade PBL (project based learning) project is focused on survival in an unknown environment.  A group of 4 to 5 students, will be “stranded and isolated” in an area on the 20th parallel in areas like modern day Greece, Northern Libya, and Svalbard, in the stone age (Neolithic period).

6th grade STEAM students will have to research different types of neolithic cultures, to learn what it takes to survive with different tools, climates, and technology. The driving question for this project is, “How will you survive and thrive in an unknown environment?”

To launch the project, 6th grade STEAM students went on a field trip to Averill Park in San Pedro. At the park, students explored different “biomes,” and also engaged in team building activities.

Students explore different biomes in Averill Park.

For the English component, the students read Hatchet, a survival novel, written by Gary Paulsen, to gain insight on what it takes to survive. They also learned narrative techniques so they can tell their story of survival on stage.

As for the technology component, the students have to keep the group organized by building a website and maintaining a SCRUM board. A SCRUM board is an online board, where you have; user stories: the things you need to do in a full sentence in your perspective point of view, tasks: the main things you need to do, in review: the things you have done that the teachers need to check, and last done: the things you are completely done with.

For the science component, students will research keywords for the students specific biome, they also need to make slides and capture a screen image of exact latitude with degree, minute, second, and hundredth of a second location. They are also building a shelter using materials typically found in their biome. 

Students create a mock shelter for their projects!

For the history component, the students, will collaborate with their team members, to chart down, ages and periods of human history on a timeline. They would also have to take a photo of the completed assignment to upload onto the team website.  

For this PBL the teachers decided to focus more on degrees and temperature, as opposed to the math students learn in class.

The PBL gives the students the opportunity to use technology, and gets them ready for high school and college, it even gets them to think at college level.

They [the students] are learning how to work in groups, take responsibility, solve problems, and gain communication skills.

“The English part of the project is my favorite part, because we get to do a lot of writing,” states 6th grader Nikko Doughty.

This is the first year the 6th grade STEAM program is doing this project and plan on doing it next year.

Project based learning is a method that helps gain the students knowledge, over an extended period of time and is the focus of the STEAM Magnet program.