Teacher Story - 7th Grade
By Becky Zalesnik, Director of Innovative Programs
Sheldon Independent School District (Humble, TX)
We began utilizing PBL in our STEM Academy last year with 7th graders. We utilized many of the BIE resources and followed all of the design elements for a high-quality project.
We experienced so many positives from this new learning environment. The kids were not just engaged, they were driving the learning and pushing each other in their groups. The collaboration and communication was awesome to watch.
One of our social studies projects addresses several Texas state standards (TEKs), so it took a few weeks to complete and we were worried about the amount of time spent on it. A couple of weeks following the project, a 9-weeks district benchmark was given and the results were amazing. The kids did not perform well on all of the questions on the test, but the questions that assessed the TEKs that the project was designed around showed the best results, 80% and 90% on all of those questions.
Not only did the students learn that content better, but they still retained it at that level weeks later. There were so many positives from our PBL units last year and BIE drove our planning and execution. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen kids and teachers so involved and enjoying learning. PBL turns lesson plans into learning experiences!