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ERIC Number: EJ1201322
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019-Jan
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0036-8148
City Planners at Work
Merricks, Jessica; Lankford, Deanna
Science and Children, v56 n5 p56-63 Jan 2019
For some elementary science teachers, a unit on land and water brings nightmares of dirt and water all over the room. Several Earth science "kits" contain hands-on exercises that allow the students to "get messy" as they manipulate materials; however, these lessons may lack the necessary opportunities for students to ask unique questions and solve real-world problems. The authors' primary goal was to design a unit that was more engaging than the traditional kit unit on land and water and in alignment with the "Next Generation Science Standards." As an equally important goal, they wanted to give their students an opportunity to put their knowledge to use in a way that was authentic, relevant, and tangible. Savery and Duffy (1995) suggest that problem-based learning (PBL), allows students to build their understanding in a real-world context, where cognitive conflict provides the stimulus for learning and knowledge evolves through social interaction (i.e., constructivist learning). They note that learning takes place most effectively in a realistic setting in which students are challenged to solve a real-world problem set within their realm of experience. Learning through PBL challenges students with a messy problem to which there is no single correct answer. This means that the students are challenged to defend their solution and provide clear evidence of accuracy. This approach to learning is student-centered and engages the teacher as a facilitator and guide. In this article, the authors present a multi-day PBL for use throughout the unit or as a wrap-up lesson for a unit on land and water. The students were presented with a challenge to research and plan the best location for a garden on the school grounds. Success depended on their ability to consider many factors related to land and water, including erosion, runoff, water flow, and more. Over the course of the investigation, students sought advice from a community expert, investigated soil characteristics around the school, and created and analyzed topographic maps in order to plan the best location for their new garden.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A