A Journey Through a #PBL Project in First Grade By Mrs. Leipelt’s Class


Our project began with a scavenger hunt around the school to look for shapes.
IMG_0545Students were excited to take pictures with the ipads and come back and share their findings.  So began our journey to answer our Driving Question:  ” What can we build or create to show others that shapes are all around us?”
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We came up with a list of Needs to Know that would drive the inquiry throughout the project.  Our Vocabulary list grew throughout the project as we continually added new words to our wall.
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Experts from the community brought this project to life.  A guest speaker brought her handmade quilts and we looked for shapes in each one.  We then created our own class quilts–one using squares and the logo of our adopted college and another more difficult “Clay’s Choice” pattern using triangles.
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Foundational skills were taught in the literacy block through literature, poetry and writing.
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Work was recorded in both written portfolios and digital.  Students easily negotiated Path to Excel to take a picture of their work and upload it to their digital portfolio.
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The vocabulary we learned was applied as we color coded faces, edges and vertices, sorted 3D shaped foods and built  3Dimensional shapes.  Who knew learning about 3D shapes and their attributes could be so much fun!
Collaborative groups worked together to come up with a 3D deliverable.  Shapes were brought in from home and the building began.
And Minecraft Enderdragon…
A haunted house…
And as a final deliverable, marble games were the product of choice.  Problem solving, designing and re-designing were all part of the process.
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Giving and receiving feedback was an important part of the process to improve our work.  Being “critical friends” is a natural part of the process for first graders and happened throughout the project.
Exhibition Day arrived and the students eagerly presented their work at the Shape Museum in the cafeteria.
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The following is a reflection by the students:
  • I liked when the kids asked me questions.–Ashley
  • Our Exhibition on shapes was awesome because you could see everybody’s projects.–Noah
  • I learned that shapes are everywhere.–Henry
  • There was a lot of people and everyone had fun greeting people to their project.–Geselle
  • It was hard to build the shapes at the bowling game.–Omar
  • I learned a cube has 6 faces.–Justin
  • My favorite part was creating the bowling game.– Layla
  • My favorite part is when I made the shape Santa.–Yahir
  • I liked learning about different shapes that I never knew before like an oval or parallelogram.”–Kassandra
  • We had a lot of customers at Exhibition.–Roneil
We knew our project was successful when students began noticing shapes around them–in nature, in food, at school and at home.  They were eager to prove their claims about shapes and they could apply their knowledge to create deliverables using shapes.  21st Century learning abounds at Katherine Smith School!

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