In Project Pals’ collaborative project-based platform, a community of interested users and authors are working together with a powerful set of composition tools that allow content experts and novice users to mark, annotate, link, and otherwise interconnect organized arrangements of their ideas. In this intellectual playground, active users learn by playing with each other and the surrounding materials. One such active user is Victor Bavaro, an Australian student that prepares to become a teacher. As a new user, we always expect that they will start by using one of our pre-made lesson plans or templates from the Project Pals catalog to make the journey of adapting to the application easier. But to our astonishment, Victor proved us wrong.
As his first Project Pals assignment, Victor decided to create his own lesson plan from scratch. His first project was about the Mathematics of Paper Planes and within a week he finished it with a level of skill that would not shame a skilled instructional designer. When we first saw Victor’s project, we were so impressed with how masterfully Victor used the tools in Project Pals to represent his project ideas, that we immediately asked him if he would agree to share it with our users and be featured in our blog, which he agreed to.
The project starts with project guidelines. Victor provides a thorough description of what the project is about, its purpose, what is the student’s job and some detailed information about resources, videos, timelines, presentations, which Project Pals has a special dashboard entry for. But for project clarity, Victor decided to provide those both on the workspace and the project dashboard.
The project guideline is followed by research and observations that feed from the research that students have done. When students have learned everything there is to know about paper planes, they are ready to delve deeper into the design and making of the paper plane. Since this is part of a scientific experiment, students have to define the variables of their experiment. Once the paper plane is built, students use the Testing and Results tab to describe their experiment and use the results form to record the test results.
In the Analysis tab students import the spreadsheet with their testing data and the chart that represents the data into Project Pals. At this point students are ready to point out any problems they encountered, solutions they came up with and provide general feedback about their project experience. The last tab is dedicated to project conclusions, students provide photos of their paper plane with annotations that highlight specific design and building considerations. Students also use the conclusions tab to reflect on their building experience and tell us why this was the best paper plane they could come up with and how the testing confirmed their hypothesis.
If you like what you see, try Victor’s project in your classroom. Students are going to love this fun combination of a hands on project with a science experiment that covers both science and math concepts. They will also enjoy the real-time collaboration and being able to clearly define each team’s role by using tasks.