Solving Real-World Challenges to Excite Learning

I have learnt that there are more problems in the world than having to clean my room. Year 4/5 Student

Duffy T2 Presentation-9

During the final term-two presentations from students at Duffy Primary School, a member from each of the 40 groups was invited to compete a confidential survey. I heard students tell one another “you can pick what you actually think because they won’t know its you choosing.” This helped with the authenticity of the responses.

Duffy T2 Presentation

Of the 40 responses 92% enjoyed Challenge Based Learning (CBL), with the other 8% unsure. The favourite parts of the experience were working with a team, learning about real-world challenges, making a difference, and using Edmodo. Other responses included using iMovie, learning about their topic, interviewing others, and getting to talk about what they’re doing. When asked what helped to learn about their chosen topics, online research was first followed by peers, Edmodo, teachers, community members and groups, other school staff, and guardians in order.

75% of the students responded that they learn content more easily and 82% said they see connections between subject areas more easily with CBL than by learning in other ways. 75% shared that their confidence had increased by doing their CBL project, with the remainder unsure. 90% of the students said they would continue their projects.

When asked if there was anything else they’d like to share about their CBL experience, students responded that:

  • In CBL I have learnt that there are more problems in the world than having to clean my room
  • It was a fun thing to do and we liked it
  • It was fun learning about different materials and what happens people or living things
  • It was fun to be in a group
  • I like CBL
  • It was difficult and very fun and challenging
  • It was fun and we will do it again and we enjoyed it
  • We have a closer trust in each other now
  • It was a really fun way to learn
  • I liked it a lot
  • It was hard make the movie
  • Our CBL solution will be carried out next term, can’t wait! CBL has been a positive experience
  • I liked working in groups because you get to work with different people. And I like making a difference in our world/school
  • I enjoyed it very much, what with working with peers and assessing real world problems
  • FUN

The year four and five classes explored the impact materials have on the environment and student solutions were as diverse as the materials they chose. During the presentations I saw the passion and the knowledge of each student group. Teachers shared that not only did  they cover the curriculum requirements, but that the learning went deeper than they could have imagined. Solutions included organising a phone collection for precious metals, improved recycling measures such as labelling bins and making bins accessible in every classroom, teaching students at the school about compost and what is compostable. Campaigning students and the school community to consider where their cotton items came from and buying fair trade, a puppet show for younger grades on the importance of reducing plastics, posters, movies, and more. It was great to see so many ideas from the younger levels and the excitement these students had regarding their learning.

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The year five and six classes were understanding the topic of seeking Asylum in Australia. The student groups took this topic in many different directions and presented both their identified challenge and chosen solution extremely well. Solutions included advocacy through posters and letters, an iBook to teach others, a fundraiser (see first film as an example) bringing in a guest speaker to educate their peers (see second film), and other ideas to share their learning. Although the presentations were during the day, some parents attended and shared that they were impressed with what their children presented. I was too!

Of the four main educators responsible for facilitating CBL this past term, all responded that they would continue using a CBL approach and that student engagement in learning increased. A knowledgeable and supportive leadership was rated as extremely important, as was having other teachers on the learning journey using new innovative practices.

Inspired to take action? Engage us. Facilitating new methodologies can be challenging and that’s what ISMOTION is here for – to support your journey. We offer a variety of support models to suit the needs of your school and teaching staff.

Contact us to start a conversation.