Project-Based Learning :: Presentation on Bridges

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 and Bridges.

C's hand drawn pictures of the four types of bridges that he made: beam, arch, cable-stayed and suspension.

C’s hand drawn pictures of the four types of bridges that he made: beam, arch, cable-stayed and suspension.

My little guy surprised me last week with this little declaration: “I think I’m ready to present my project tomorrow.

I was in the middle of making dinner and we were cleaning up from the day’s activities, so I was a wee bit taken back. Um, sure, if you feel that the night before co-op is a good time to make these decisions, then what can I do to help you get ready?

He gathered all of his materials and decided that he needed a way to display his pictures, so we matted them with construction paper – after dinner. Then, he went and found display materials and all of his wooden popsicle models. Everything seemed set and ready to go. Off to bed we went.

Apparently, he had an epiphany sometime during the night – he needed to have a written speech. My six-year-old is slowly reading, but we’re still on beginner books. While he doesn’t mind writing (unlike his older brother at age six), it’s not something he chooses to do often. So, of course I encouraged it as much as I could. And, with only an hour before we had to leave – it kept the expectations to a minimum.

C presenting his bridge materials.

C presenting his bridge materials.

Regardless, he got as much done as he wanted to and with minimal frustrations. He was so excited to present to his friends that we let him go before our first class. Thankfully, his friends (many of whom are older) were quite supportive of all of his hard work and impressed with his K’nex suspension bridge.

IMG_1485So…did I think his interest in bridges was complete? Yes.

Would I like to have seen a deeper understanding of the topic? Yes…but, if he was happy with his project, then it’s complete.  At least, that’s what I thought until this morning – at which point he realized he still had some other bridges to build.

K'nex double-bascule bridge

K’nex double-bascule bridge – one of our favorite bridges is the London Tower Bridge. Their web site has a tour!

The project continues…but in a more relaxed way. I can’t wait to see how it develops.