Schools have always been known to conduct quantitative assessments to understand their student's grasp on the curriculum, while simultaneously pushing students to be creative. Assessing the qualitative aspects of creativity has always been challenging.
Andrew Miller, Director of Personalized Learning at the Singapore American School, states that "while we may have the tools to teach and assess content, creativity is another matter, especially if we want to be intentional about teaching it as a 21st-century skill. In a PBL project, some teachers focus on just one skill, while others focus on many."
Broughal Middle School, in collaboration with The Stone House Group, formed a week-long sustainability curriculum in 2013 that culminated in the GingerBuilding Challenge: a program that would fuse together project-based learning and environmental stewardship. Through this program, students learn about sustainable building strategies and features that can be implemented in their school buildings or sustainability programs! Students are the architects in this activity and use their knowledge and creativity to incorporate sustainable building strategies while bringing their vision to life! With the help of teachers, a variety of subject areas are addressed, including math, social studies, science, and reading comprehension.
SHG professionals work with teachers to introduce students to the basics of sustainable building, covering topics related to sustainable sites, water usage, energy efficiency and renewable energy, materials and construction, and local resources. Students work in small groups and using the gingerbread and candy provided, design and build a gingerbread house they think best utilizes the sustainable building concepts learned. This program promotes interdisciplinary work, creativity, and real-world problem solving. Teachers act as facilitators and use the GingerBuilding Challenge curriculum provided to guide students while also allowing teachers to make curriculum modifications based on their preferences and school.
Are you interested in bringing the GingerBuilding challenge to your school?
Read the full article by Andrew Miller in Edutopia here.