I love using the BIE (Buck Institute for Education) planning form. You get such a sense of satisfaction when you fill in one of the blanks. At the bottom of this post, I’m attaching the planning form that we are currently using for “What’s Up With This Guy?”
Filling in the Blanks
The first blank is the name of your project. I like a catchy title, something that instantly gets the kids’ attention. Next, I start working on the driving question. Luckily for us, the driving question was provided, “How can we diagnose a sick patient and recommend the best treatment?” Now I can start to fill in the easy blanks like teacher, subject, duration, ect.
Here’s where planning for a PBL is a little different. We skip from the start of the form straight to the section called, “Culminating Products and Performances.” I need to start thinking about how I want the kids to show their learning. My goal should be for them to express this learned information in a new way, a way that requires them to use this knowledge in an authentic manner. Are these 4th graders really going to prescribe medication for this poor patient – no. Is this a scenario that does take place in the real world – yes. The kids are taking the information that they’ve learned about the human body and are using this information in a new manner – that’s critical thinking at it’s best. This is also a time to decide how you are going to measure their learning. In this project, it will be a group presentation using Keynote. They will have 10 minutes to cover their topic & they will present to a panel that includes at least one medical person. And there’s your authentic audience.
A Few More Blanks
Wow, look how many blanks are done. Now go to your entry event. What is your “hook” going to be? In our case, it was Howard. He was our imaginary patient, played by our drama teacher, and he was perfect. You should now have enough information to fill in your project idea, content and skill standards, and even your 21st skills.
Did I mention that I do this all in pencil? Yes, this technology teacher needs a hard copy that I can write on with my mechanical pencil & make as many changes as I want. Then I get to make my pretty copy by completing the form on either my computer or my iPad.
Stay tuned for more on scaffolding and assessing your project.