PBL :: City Presentation Finale

We are a small group of five families who are helping our children to direct their own learning (at least some of it) through a project-based approach. We set the topic – physics – but they are leading the way and mapping their own projects. Check out the previous posts – Lessons Learned for Co-op and Bridges.

Their personally planned city - complete with a street grid and zoning.

Their personally planned city – complete with a street grid and zoning. Buildings and cars are made from air-dry clay.

This past week the boys presented their city project. I was definitely ready for them to be done as all of their projects seem to require more cheerleading toward the end. And, by November, I need a break from “school”, cheerleading and structured learning. Bring on the field trips and the holiday celebrations!

This was an interesting project because they started out with an end product in mind and while they did complete their project – it was not in the detailed way that I imagined. I wonder if that was due to the end of a lengthy project? Or, they never intended to go further with it? Or, maybe they wanted to go off and play…

Just some of the books they checked out from the library. These were the ones they used the most.

Just some of the books they checked out from the library. These were the ones they used the most.

Either way, they did a lot of exploring and research. That meant a lot of writing and rewriting. It meant a lot of reading and comprehending information. It also meant going out into the community. And, of course, it meant a lot of drawing.

A's hand-drawn maps of local cities.

A’s hand-drawn maps of local cities. Project-based homeschooling is a perfect way to celebrate your artist’s way of learning.

There was a lot of map reading and discussions about directions and grids. There was also a lot of thinking about how different cities are organized and how they get their power. There was curiosity about other cities and their design. And almost of all of this learning was self-directed.

R's hand-drawn maps. He made these while researching city design.

R’s hand-drawn maps. He made these while researching city design.

Of course, there was also cooperation and negotiation. There was learning to listen to your friend and there was learning to speak up. There was learning how to work together and take turns “winning” the argument. Overall, I would call the project a success. They were both happy with their progress, their learning and they enjoyed themselves.

Homemade skyscraper - a great project from the Cities book about the value of steel-framed skyscrapers.

Homemade skyscraper – a great project from the Cities book about the value of steel-framed skyscrapers.