Project Based Learning and the Flip

by Jill Brown

For the past few weeks I have been experimenting with PBL in my Flipped classroom. Web quests have been the tool of choice for this implementation. Instead of a steady stream of screencasts for homework, I focused on research with a final project to show mastery. For example, we were about to dive into integers…adding and subtracting. I felt the concept was too abstract for my kiddos to master through screencasts. So, they did a webquest to build conceptual knowledge around the topic. They had to define integers, learn the history of negative numbers, and research ways integers are used in daily life. Their final product was a presentation of their research through either Glogster, Active Inspire, Power Point, or a Prezi.

This is how it went down:

1. On Monday I introduced the Webquest and let them get started.
2. While they were working, I pulled small groups for remediation based on the last test.
3. Homework was the contiuation of the webquest.
4. Tuesday, I met with the students in small groups and introduced the rules for adding and subtracting integers, where I taught them how to use a numberline for assistance. Homework was a screencast created by Khan explaining integers using a numberline.
5. Wednesday, 20 minutes of class time was given to students to present their research in small groups.
6. Thursday was for those who didn’t get a chance to present on Wednesday.
7. I continued teaching the rules for adding and subtracting integers in small groups while the students worked on finishing their math web quest and started working on their science webquest.
8. By Friday I had met with everyone on adding and subtracting integers and had a chance to assess for understanding.

Here is what I learned:

1. The webquest gave the students a bigger picture of the concept. Through the research, they learned about the history of the concept, how its used, and why. This created connections and helped them get ready for the math part.

2.The webquests was a great tool in creating that independent learning environment. It allowed me the freedom to work in small groups.

3. The final product provided an opportunity in public speaking, which I used as a learning opportunity.

4. Keeping the webquests to a week time created urgency and better time management.

Building the connections was the most powerful part of the webquest. My students now saw the purpose of learning about integers and this made them more receptive to learning the rules.