Students at Saint Leo the Great are no strangers to Project-Based Learning (PBL). So when fifth graders were presented with an Earth Day challenge, they decided to educate their community by developing a school-wide Recycling Rally. Through weeks of collaboration, they used their creativity, knowledge, skills and talents to produce an informative short film called, “The Water Bottle Story.” Their process included drafting storyboards, script writing, auditioning for lead roles, filming with green screens and editing footage on iMovie. Other groups of students created a music video, wrote catchy recycling jingles, or developed five interactive recycling games for the second part of the rally. “I liked how creative we could be and that there were no limits” shared Ben Clisbee.
Although PBL can create more logistical challenges and obstacles than a traditional classroom, it empowers students to take ownership of their own learning. Fifth grader Joaquin Hernandez stated, “Everyone at least got to pitch two ideas in the final project. It was fun yet educational.” Ezekiel Dop-Willette, film editor, shared that “The PBL learning process really helped us on our decision making and team working.”
Four weeks after the project start date, the Recycling Rally was well received by many participants. Each student received a Recycle wristband which the fifth graders ordered and purchased with their own money. One teacher commented that, “I witnessed several second graders making better choices when recycling at lunch and throughout the afternoon.” Fifth grader Deyesa Rosa shared that, “If we went to the beach I would love to pick up trash. It would be worth it because we are saving marine animals from dying.”
The process from start to finish was entirely student driven. The PBL approach gave them leadership opportunities, a creative outlet, and chance to apply their technology skills to better the world. According to fifth grader Elijah Garcia, “Whenever I saw PBL on the agenda, I got excited. There is nothing I did not like about the PBL process. Doing future PBLs sounds very fun and I look forward to it.”