PBL Projects; How to Survive Them!

Picture+of+my+groups%27+%28i8%29+presentation+for+the+final+5+night+on+April+13th%2C+2018.
Picture of my groups' (i8) presentation for the final 5 night on April 13th, 2018.

Picture of my groups' (i8) presentation for the final 5 night on April 13th, 2018.

Picture of my groups' (i8) presentation for the final 5 night on April 13th, 2018.

Eeva Sogliuzzo, Staff Writer

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Going into sixth grade is a big transition from fifth grade, especially when switching to the STEAM Magnet. One thing I didn’t have in elementary that took a major role in sixth grade were the PBL projects. PBL stands for Project Based Learning, which basically is what is sounds like. You learn skills throughout the certain project the teachers picked with an assigned group. You learn how to make a Google website, Sketch-ups, Google slideshows, and so much more that could help benefit your future.

Our first project was the Survival project, where your advisory teacher assigned you to a group and would soon get a biome you would base your project on. My group had the deciduous forest, so we researched different things like the average temperature, animals we could eat in desperate measures, and much more you would need to know if you ever got stranded somewhere in that kind of biome. We learned basic survival skills that could help us in unfortunate events that could provide the possibility of a better outcome to survive.

The second semester project was the Restaurant project. The teachers told us the empty lot where our restaurant would be, and that is where all the imagining begun. One thing I learned from the Restaurant Project was divergent thinking. Thinking outside of the box, thinking of a cuisine that you don’t see a lot of in San Pedro. Then it hit me, a fine dining Japanese restaurant. Our group chose this cuisine, and based our restaurant off of San Pedro’s Japanese-American history and tableside cooking. We thought that people always have to drive that 20 minute drive to Benihana just to have a dinner, but what if that was just right down the block. This was the idea, to bring fine dining to downtown San Pedro to revitalize the Japanese culture. Using our individual divergent thinking brought us to the top 5. I will know list tips on how to survive PBL and how to use different skills to nail these projects.

  1. Divergent Thinking:

Divergent thinking is very crucial to this project, as you will use your imagination and skills to do the activities and assignments. The teachers are looking for something unique and original. For example, when the teachers assign the logo design, you are able to use your unique creativity to create a beautiful piece of art that represents your restaurant and it’s theme. This shows that using your different mindsets and skills to ideate a unique project is the way to go.

 

  1. Use your SCRUM board (a lot)

Screenshot of my groups’ scrum board (i8)

The scrum board is a board with  a list of tasks to do in a sprint. A sprint is a certain time frame where certain tasks from your scrum board need to be finished. So, in the last sprint from the restaurant project was to finalize your script and slides for the final presentation. The scrum board helps organize your work and assignments with Do, Doing, and Done columns. The scrum board also helps your group communicate to each other when you are at home so that one could tell if something was done or should be done on the board. The scrum board is based from a tool on google drive called Kanbanchi. This board helped my group so much and I definitely recommend using it frequently everyday throughout your PBL projects to help further organize your project.

  1. Work as a team, not as an individual

You are working as a team, not a single person. Splitting up the work is important because hogging up all the interesting work will cause conflict between the group, which is unhealthy. All of the groups got on each others’ nerves every now and then, but having everlasting conflict is not good for the whole project. You need to work as a group in order to succeed. The students must work as one, not as ones. Also, stay positive with one another, as you will stay with this group for about three months.

  1. Choose group members wisely

If you get the opportunity to choose your group members, do it with caution. Picking the wrong group members can end up with an unwanted result. Sometimes people who pick friends tend to get distracted. I’m not saying this always happens, the group that won the restaurant project was a fantastic group of friends, but picking certain friends increases the possibility of getting distracted from your work. Picking people you don’t also helps making new friends and acquaintances from your classes. Transitioning from elementary to middle school is all about making new friends, and working with people you aren’t close with is a good start.

  1. Communicate!

Communicating is key when doing assignments during the sprints. Give each other your emails and phone numbers to further communicate other than the scrum board. Most kids in our generation are on their phone a lot after school, so by making a group chat through texts is fast and effective unlike emails. For instance, if you made last minute changes to the script or slides, you could text the group chat and talk about the changes you made and see what they think. This will also help prevent conflict and confusion.

These were my tips on surviving the PBL projects. Using these tips will help increase your chances of getting an A on the project, and gaining more knowledge of the PBL. Feel free to comment any personal advice and tips for PBL based projects in the comments that helped you out during your PBL days.

Eeva Sogliuzzo, Staff Writer
Eeva Sogliuzzo is a journalism student here at Dana Middle School. Before Eeva came to Dana she went to Crestwood from Kindergarten to 3rd grade, but for the rest of her elementary school time she attended Taper elementary school. When asked what her favorite subjects in school she responded with, “English, because it lets you...
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