Project-based learning takes off in Peñasco

The Peñasco Independent School District (PISD) in New Mexico has adopted project-based learning, highlighting its benefits and applications through various programs and community partnerships. PISD has established about 15 project-based learning programs aimed at engaging students in practical and relevant educational experiences. For instance, the Envirothon competition allows students to work on environmental topics through hands-on tasks, improving their public speaking and research skills. Students like Alicia Abeyta, Elijah Garcia, and Enrique Gonzales, who participate in Envirothon, tackle subjects such as aquatics, wildlife, and forestry, applying science practically and aspiring towards future educational goals.

Additionally, PISD offers a project-based journalism course where students produce content for a broadcast called “Tea Time,” learning to operate in a newsroom environment by creating story ideas, conducting interviews, and using professional editing software. This approach is praised by the teacher, Stephanie Noll, for fostering student investment and agency by providing choices in their learning process.

The community school initiative also facilitates partnerships with local organizations like Twirl, a nonprofit that integrates play with education in programs such as a rocket engineering and aerodynamics project for young students. This program emphasizes fun and engagement in learning complex subjects like mathematics and science through building and analyzing rockets.

Overall, this program underscores the effectiveness of project-based learning in enhancing student engagement, practical application of knowledge, and community involvement, thereby fostering a more dynamic and interactive educational environment.