Project-Based Learning in the Galilee School

June 2015 

In order to make students more active learners and increase their motivation, the school is introducing a major pedagogical change in teaching methodology. Teachers have been receiving special training in the use of Project Based Learning (PBL). Students learn to conduct research, write, conduct interviews, make presentations, and produce work that integrates multiple academic subjects. Literature, art and technology are being integrated into a new “Augmented Book Project”.

The Augmented Book Project:

This project, which is part of the new Project Based Learning initiative, adds an additional layer to the “big brother and sister” project that already exists in the school that connects each 6th grader with a first grader. As an interdisciplinary project it involves literature, art, and computer technology. 

In the Augmented Book Project, 6th graders wrote and illustrated a children’s story book that they presented as a gift to their first grader. Both the older and younger children benefitted from this project in that the importance of giving of oneself to others is reinforced in the older children and the motivation of the younger students to read in both Hebrew and Arabic is increased. Sixth graders, who work in teams of two, learned the essential elements of creative story writing with the help of their literature teacher and the school librarian. Students will met a children’s book illustrator who explained techniques for connecting the words to the illustrations. Students were also be exposed to the most up to date computer technology of three dimensionality and augmented layer technology that enabled their story to be seen as 3D or animated through a computer application on a smartphone phone or Tablet. 

This project empowered the 6th grade students by making them active learners. It encouraged imagination, enhances social skills, writing skills in Hebrew and Arabic, as well as computer knowledge. It also strengthens the bond between the older and younger students.

Ecology and Greenhouse Research Center: It is essential that we teach the next generation how to grow their own food using methodology that will preserve resources. In a country like Israel where there exists tension and continual conflict concerning water and land, we must teach our Jewish and Arab children to live in cooperation with each other and with the environment so that they can help create a sustainable, healthy and productive world. Under the guidance of Dan Zukerman, a veteran teacher in the field of ecology and permaculture, students are building a greenhouse which they will use to research and learn about advanced technologies for growing edible plants in ways that protect the environment. Students from grades 1-6 are growing vegetables, spices and fruits using recycled grey water and fertilizer made from compost that they have created from food wastes. They are learning about urban agriculture and how to grow food without soil in plastic containers as well as hydroponic growth methods; how to purify and use waste water and how to collect rain water for watering the garden. Students are conducting experiments to determine the best growing methods for particular plants, and as a result of their experimentation, they will create a beautiful and sustainable garden in the school yard. The school’s vision is to become the leader in the entire Misgav area in ecology, urban agriculture, and sustainability and ultimately to build a visitor’s center that offers workshops to children from other schools as well courses for adults.

Accessibility Workshop: This is also a PBL Project that is meant to motivate students by connecting them to real life issues. Here the topic is accessibility for the handicapped.  The workshop seeks to deepen students’ understanding of the importance of making places accessible for the handicapped and then to teach them that they have the power to change the environment around them that is so difficult for the handicapped. In this workshop, fifth and sixth grade students meet and speak with people with handicaps and learn basic information about their needs and rights. They also meet with experts in the fields of advertising, and mass communication and learn basic concepts in these areas. Using the knowledge they have gained, students prepare posters and games using modern digital technology and prepare a campaign to raise awareness about the need for accessibility for the disabled in the Galilee schools as well as in the larger Jewish and Arab communities in the Galilee. Through this project, students become active learners, critical thinkers about the messaging in the media and in advertising, and learn that they are capable of changing and improving their community. 

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