What is PBL? I can’t get it out of my head. Ok, that is not exactly true, but here I am still thinking about it as I’m thinking about what to write for my next sentence. I even made five spelling errors so far (Thank you editing skills!).
If this is the effect on me, then I just can’t wait until my student’s get hit with their driving question. Which Michigan organism is has the best chance of survival? Well, I’m not exactly sure that is going to be my driving question, because I’m still in the brainstorming process. I’ve been to Edutopia and BIE.com to learn about proper DQ’s, attended Myla Lee’s Creating A 22nd Century Community of Learners at MACUL 2013 (which set this all in motion), searched #PBL, #PBLchat, #flipclass, posted questions to Edmodo, and many other things that kinda mash into that research.
Then I started to hit a wall, some of my questions were getting too… unmanageable. Do I still give traditional lessons inside this lesson? Do I toss out the pre-made science journals? How do I plan instruction if students start going in many different directions with their projects? What is this going to look like? Is my question driving? So, I was mostly engaged in circular thinking at that point, and part of me was wondering, “What am I getting myself into?” If I could just go back to doing a traditional teaching method, I could at least have a few hours back to fold the laundry or have some free time. The thought made me sick. There is no going back now.
So I took my skeletal plan back out, and looked at the holes. After visiting the PBL DIY once again I began to read it and compare what I had. PBL is so big, that I found that if I focused on one part at a time, new ideas emerged and I started to answer some of my own questions.
I refined my DQ, “Which animal has the best chance of survival in its environment?” I may refine it further, but I already imagine students grappling with the question, and learning the basics, but then deepening knowledge on what makes the animal they chose stand out, based on characteristics. I think it has potential since it meets many of the characteristics of a driving question at bie.org. They state that driving questions must be provocative, complex, open-ended, and linked to the target goals of the unit.
I’m looking at the question, and I’m not sure what animal I would pick. My mind keeps going back to a video I watched where a raptor was trying to make lunch out of a box turtle. The raptor kept dropping the turtle a great distance down directly onto a boulder. I thought that little turtle was a goner, but no, the bird finally lost interest and eventually flew away. Maybe I’ll pick the box turtle.