Project Based Learning
"Before coming to Halio, I never heard Ben talking about what he did at school. Now he won't stop! He tells me what he needs for his project and he insists on getting it done before dinner. I couldn't ask for more from his school experience. Thank you Halio teachers!" - Geoff, Canada.
Project-based learning means we find a topic that is meaningful and relevant to our students' lives, and allow them to explore their interest to know it deeply. This process allows students to become intrinsically motivated and empowered to take control of their own learning. Rather than feeding them abstract knowledge in isolation, students have the opportunity to initiate understanding of how and why things work. Students make connections between information they learned and their own experience, and apply that to the topic or project. This holistic approach allows newly acquired knowledge to be fully and properly integrated into their comprehension of the world. There are no limits to how deep they can dive or how far they can fly when they are set free to follow their passion.
Some fun projects we've done:
My Home My Habitat: Exploring the connection between animals' adaptations in different parts of the world to their environment, led to an interest in attracting local birds and raising our own frogs. We visited national parks as ornithologists studying the reason for the disappearance of certain species, and students worked to make our campus more attractive to wildlife. Students also created a habitat for tadpoles and adjusted it as the needs of their pets developed and changed.
Flea Circus - Inspired by a reference in a novel, our students worked to create an automated Flea Circus. The homemade attractions used a variety of electrical, magnetic, and mechanical devices to create the illusion of fleas moving the device or acting theatrically. Students created a script to show their creations as a stage performance. Poster, flyers, and other forms of advertising were created to advertise their performances. This holistic class drew upon (and fostered development of) student knowledge from English, History, Science and Math.
The Entrepreneur - Students were challenged to create their own business ideas and products to generate a profit. Engaged in the design thinking process, exploring ways to generate ideas, they had to create a fully detailed business proposal with costing and formally present their business proposal in a pitch meeting. Only successful pitches received investment money. Students had to track expenses and continuously update their costing and business strategies. We explored advertising and market research. Products were displayed and sold in the school shop and at our annual Community Market.
Carnival Games - In a world with competition from video games, Halio students were challenged to create their own successful carnival game. Students looked to relatives for inspiration about schoolyard games from the past and around the world. Researching characteristics these games all share led to a study of physics and probability to understand how games can be made less fair, and how students could use their understanding of physics and probability to create more successful games. We played those games, discussing which aspects could successfully be incorporated into a carnival game. Students built and tested their games, getting feedback on how to improve from their classmates. They also had to determine the probability of someone winning their game and adjust the value of their prizes accordingly, and also calculate an appropriate cost to play.