Project Based Learning – African Animal Style

I’m suppose to be working on a post for my Wilkes project based learning course but right now the website is having problems – oh, Technology! So instead I will write about a recent project that we have done in our classroom that turned out beautifully.

Step 1: We started out by having each child pick an African animal that they are interested in. They had to find book resources as well as internet resources to research their animal. Here is a link to the document that they used – Animal Research.

Step 2: Next each student went to Discovery Education and found a close-up image of their animal and the citation for the image. We used iPads for this part but a computer would also work.

Step 3: Each student FaceJacked their image to reply to the six questions that they had posed. Many students changed their voices to make it sound like the animal was talking. On the computer, blabberize will do the same thing as facejack. We then sent all of the Facejack images to the students email address since the final stage of the project would necessitate using a computer.

Step 4: Using our green screen and flip camera on a tripod, each student recorded their questions one at a time for easy manipulation later in the project.

Step 5: Day 1 in the computer lab (about 45 mins.). We took all of the resources that had been collected – 7 green screen video clips (including 6 questions and an introduction), 6 facejack video clips, and one citation page and put them into iPhoto. Students also found one more image on DE to use for their background image and citated that image. Now we had all the parts.

Step 6: Day 2 in the computer lab (1 hour) – putting all the pieces together.

Using iMovie, students designed their title page.

Next the facejack video were pulled into the project area in order.

Between each facejack video, students placed their background image with 2 images at the beginning for the introduction and the first question.

I showed students how to check the length of the green screen video clip and match the image timing to the video clip.

Lastly each green screen video clip was dragged on to the image corresponding to the space before each answer. With the advanced settings enabled, a choice for the green screen would show when the video hovered over the already placed image.

Here are just some of the amazing projects that my third grade students created.

What is project based learning?
Project based learning is an in-depth student/teacher designed investigation that incorporates
1. Posing real-life questions that students want to find the answers to
2. Researching, investigating, and documenting the answers to the questions that are posed
3. Sharing the investigation and answers with a larger audience

What is the role of the teacher?
The role of the teacher is to guide children through the steps of posing a question that can be answered or investigated, gathering accurate information through accurate research and observations, and sharing the information in a way that others can benefit from the learning.

What is the role of the student?
The role of the student is to pose the question, gather information, and share what is learned. This can occur as a whole group, small group, or individual depending on the project.

Why is it effective learning?
Project based learning incorporates all areas of learning which engages students to pursue something that interests them, learn how to research, gather information, use resources or observations accurately, and share their learning with others. These are skills that all life-long learners need to have which is why project based learning is so powerful.

Learn more about project based learning through these resources
“More Fun Than a Barrel of . . . Worms?!” – Diane Curtis, Edutopia

“Geometry Students Angle into Architecture Through Project Learning” – Sara Armstrong, Edutopia

“March of the Monarchs: Students Follow the Butterflies’ Migration”
– Diane Curtis, Edutopia


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  1. Pingback: Africa Animals | Kruger Park tours from the US

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