To be honest, the sustained inquiry part of my first PBL project was undoubtedly one of the more difficult pieces for me. Students were given a driving question of:
How can we solve the problem of plastics in the ocean/fresh water?
Students now needed to do some outside research to determine the scope of the problem and to begin to come up with a solution.
Using BIE's project rubric for sustained inquiry:
After the entry event and after students had analyzed a website, students then created a "need to know" list of questions. I had each group brainstorm a list of questions they needed to have answered in order to answer our driving question. I then had groups narrow their lists down to 1 essential "need to know" question per group. These were put on my white board by periods, going forward I will put these on a piece of poster paper that we can hang in the class as my classroom is set up with sliding white boards. I would slide the white board so that 1st period could see their questions, but they could not see of the other classes questions.
Students were then given a project research document:
This document was pushed out in Google Classroom and students were instructed to create a shared folder in their Google Drive to be shared with their group. All of their shared documents and and anything project related could be placed in their Drive for access by all group members. Students were told to research plastics in the ocean/fresh water and to take notes in the right hand column of their research doc.
An interesting observation here, I had a few students that would ask me, how many websites or sources were required. My response was always, "do you have enough to answer your driving question?" Often kids would go back to work but some students seemed confused when I did not tell them to include at least 5 sources. Often times in the past on research projects I and other teachers had told students, you need X many sources and kids just would find that many sources to get the grade on the assignment.
My difficulty in this process was while some students would ask new questions and then seek out that information, I felt other students where just filling out the research document as a way to get points for their grade, there was not 100% buy in. After a couple days of project research, I had a few students that felt they had enough research and they would rather be doing other things on their Chromebook's. It was tough getting kids to dive deeper into the content.
For the next project I will be doing more individual and group check in's using BIE's critical thinking rubric, I did start doing check in's later in this project and will talk about that in a future post. The individual check in's are a great way to gauge students thinking and how they are coming along on their project.
Link to the critical thinking rubric:
This is the piece from the rubric that I will use in the future for sustained inquiry:
In addition to the check in's with students, this would be a great time to have students watch videos or read articles that I have found to be high quality on this subject, this would be great as a set up to a socratic seminar. I did not go this for this project but will in the future.
As always, comments and questions are encouraged.