In Leland & Gray Union Middle and High School in Vermont, students presented the fruits of their project-based learning labor, exploring everything from sewing to women’s rights to fantasy football drafting to aerial rocket launching. All students in grades 6 to 12 presented their projects in groups. They were stationed at tables, answering questions and sharing their experience.
Principal Bob Thibault pointed out how incredible this experience was for students because it engages students in ways classroom instruction cannot and produces “transferable skills,” such as collaboration and creativity.
Students pick the top three projects they’d like to be involved with, then they are assigned to work in groups or individually. Each week, students spend 100 minutes on their projects. Feedback from the previous semesters informs the development of the next units.
Some of the projects that students are engaged with include a ‘Journey Away,’ in which students recorded interviews and put together oral histories soon to be displayed at Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, writing films for a project then planning them out shot by shot and presenting the trailers to other students, in a cooking project students made different foods and had other students rate their creations, and a nature immersion project in which guests with knowledge of Abenaki and Boy Scout practices discussed the outdoors.
The students greatly enjoyed the projects and described them as “really fun”. Alexander Sicko, a seventh grader, said it’s fun to meet students he doesn’t normally interact with in other classes.