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Focus on the Future Problem Based Learning for the 21st Century Classroom. John Henry Program Director Educational Information and Resource Center (EIRC) firstname.lastname@example.org. “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” Wayne Gretzky.
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Problem Based Learning for the 21st Century
Educational Information and Resource Center (EIRC)
Guide students to look at 21st Century skills.
As a result of a relative decline in student achievement … and interest of students to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM)-related careers …
the United States IS AT RISK.
Past 3 years alone, China & India have doubled production of 3- and 4-year degrees in engineering, computers science and IT, while the US production of engineers is stagnant and CS and IT have doubled.
56% of engineering PhDs in the US are awarded to foreign-born students.
Although US fourth graders score well against international competition, they fall near the bottom or dead last by 12th grade in Mathematics and Science, respectively.
By 2010 … if current trends continue … more than 90% of the world’s scientists and engineers will be living in Asia.
85% of Middle and High School Students report being bored in their classrooms
Learning as an active process in which learners construct new ideas or concepts based upon their current or past knowledge. Students continually build upon what they have already learned.
Problem Based Learning is a student-centered instructional model that simultaneously develops both problem solving strategies and subject matter content by having students confront real-world problems with limited information provided
by the teacher.
It is based on the idea that learning should start with an ill-structured problem or messy situation that the learner wants or feels compelled to solve.
PBL Appeals to human desire for resolution/ equilibrium/harmony
“…a process of acquiring understanding, knowledge, skills and attitudes in the context of an unfamiliar situation, and applying such learning to that situation.”
- C. E. Engel, University of Newcastle
At lower grade levels more project based and gradually move toward very open-ended and student centered and directed
Adjustment for Teachers. Unfamiliar method and not used to letting go
Begin with local situations that will align to standards a spark interest
Students are viewed as learners. Knowledge is transmitted from teacher to student. Students passively receive information.
Teacher and students learn together. Students construct knowledge through gathering and synthesizing information and integrating it with the general skills of inquiry, communication, critical thinking, and problem solving. Students are actively involved.
Emphasis is on acquisition of knowledge. Focus is on a single discipline. Work is competitive and individually completed.
Emphasis is on using and communicating knowledge effectively to address important, current issues and problems in real-life contexts. Work is interdisciplinary, cooperative, collaborative, and supportive.
Teacher’s role is to be primary information giver and primary evaluator. Assessment is used to monitor learning.
Teacher’s role is to coach and facilitate. Students & teacher evaluate learning together. Teaching and assessing are intertwined and related.
Assessment is used to monitor learning. Emphasis is on right answers. Desired learning is assessed indirectly through the use of objectively scored tests.
Assessment is used to promote and diagnose learning. Desired learning is assessed directly through projects, performances, portfolios, papers, and so on.
You are a scientist at the state department of nuclear safety. Some people in a small community feel their health is at risk because a company keeps thorium piled above ground at one of their plants. What action, if any, should be taken?
It has come to the attention of several community leaders that the working conditions of immigrants in many communities are substandard. You are a member of a community group that has been asked to investigate these working conditions. Present a report containing recommendations to the State Labor Commission.
What do you know about the situation?
What do you need to know about the situation?
What will you do?
It is April 1, 2008 and you wake up feeling groggy from the night before. You did not sleep very well. You stagger downstairs into the kitchen and get a bowl out of the cabinet. As you reach for the Fruit Loops you realize there is an empty box. So you go upstairs to ask your mother where there is another box and find an empty bed. Your parents are nowhere in sight. However, on their bed there is a note that said, “Lauren and Matthew, Mom and Dad had to go on a TOP SECRET mission. No one can know we are gone. We have left you $3,000.00 cash in the freezer to pay the monthly bills and take care of yourselves for the month. We will be back on May 1, 2008. Remember, you cannot tell anyone and if you have any questions, you can only call us once and ask two questions. We love you very much and can’t wait to see you. Love, Mom and Dad” What are you going to do?
A new school is to be built for our neighborhood at a cost of $8 million. By law, 1.5 percent of this cost is to be devoted to the installation of art in the school. You are members of an art committee that must do two things. The first is to set up rules for the artists who wish to submit proposals, and the second is to determine how the school will select the art.
There has been a great deal of discussion about violence in the schools. Some schools have adopted dress codes as part of the solution. Your school is now considering a dress code as a preventive measure. You and your classmates have been asked to write a report on what effect a dress code would have on your school.
The principal of the school is concerned about the tensions that seem to exist between individuals and among different groups in the school. He wants to learn what can be done to lessen the tensions and foster more harmony among students. He has asked this class to prepare a presentation for him and the Board of Education.
Ted is a typical senior is High School and is about 3 months away form graduation. He lives at home like most teenagers his age, and for the most part gets along with his parents. Even though his relationship with his parents is not bad, he is still considering moving out of his house and getting a place of his own. He feels he is ready to venture away from home for the first time. Ted is also considering the possibility of going to college, and is currently sending out applications to potential colleges he would like to attend. He knows he needs a car of some kind to get around in and a place to live. His frustration level is beginning to rise. He is beginning to realize a reality of life…the cost of living.
What should Ted do?
Upon return from a trip from a hike on the Appalachian Trail, your best friend does not feel very well. He has fever, nausea, and vomiting, severe headache, loss of appetite and muscle pain. His mother treats him for allergies and the common cold as no one else in the family is sick. Your friend attributes the muscle pain to the fact that he just started a new and quite rigorous workout routine with the football coach. A week later your friend is not any better. In fact, his "cold" has worsened. Now he is experiencing diarrhea, abdominal pain, joint pain (which he still attributes to the new workout routine), and now a rash has appeared on his arms.
What can you do to help your friend?
As a representative of Acme Travel in NJ, you have just received an email from National Travel Magazine. One of their reporters is coming into the state next month and wants to visit three of the “best” state parks in NJ. They will only be in the state for three days. Develop a plan for the reporter to use once he arrives at AC airport.
You are a science advisor at NASA. A planet much like the earth has experienced massive destruction of elements of its biosphere. What is causing the destruction of plant life? Can new plants from earth be successfully introduced to help save the planet's environment?
Your class has just been contacted by the Philadelphia Zoo. The zoo has been notified that within four weeks they will receive a shipment of ten new animals. The zoo has limited space, but because of their contract, they must accept all of the animals. You have been asked by the zoo to help determine what to do with the new animals. The zoo board would like to have your recommendations within two weeks.
You are a stockholder of a major oil refinery in NJ. The refinery has received public pressure about the high cost of fuel and environmental problems.
What actions should you take as a stockholder?
Design, develop and demonstrate the feasibility of a self-contained, self-sustaining human community in a place that is not yet considered habitable.
It is obvious that Latin Americans do not have the same health coverage as most people in the United States. This results in many health problems that could be prevented by simple medical attention and medication if it was available to them.
What more can you learn about this situation?
What is a possible plan of action to help improve the situation
Take Me Out to the Ballgame
The public relations director for the River Sharks baseball team has decided at the next game to throw out souvenir baseballs into the stands every time the team hits a home run. The director has ordered 2000 souvenir balls. The manufacturer must decide on the packaging for the 2000 baseballs and the mode of delivery. As an employee of the manufacturing company you must find the cheapest, environmentally friendly and most efficient source of packaging and delivery. The baseballs measure 10” in circumference and weigh 5 ounces.