Use what you know to solve problems that matter to you.

From math to science, to language arts, to service learning, subject lines blur when students engage with complex questions. They apply the skills and concepts they’ve learned to real life issues they want to resolve. Working with peers, students discuss and negotiate how their ideas, strategies, and prototypes get created, tested, and analyzed.

Project-based learning, design thinking, and problem-based learning are capstones of learning at Trinity School.

The Makerspace is a dedicated space on campus for students to bring to life their ideas, collaborate with peers, explore new materials, and take a deep dive into something they are passionate about.  Students have a variety of opportunities to utilize the space. The Makerspace is open for lunch recess three times a week giving students the opportunity to work on a project over time. Classes come in to have longer blocks of time to work on projects or explore a new idea.

The driving question the fourth grade students are tackling during this unit is:

How can we create a video grammar guide that encourages Trinity School students to use “good” grammar?

Each student selected a grammar lesson to teach in their episode. First, they ensured that they fully understood the concept. This involved several one on one meetings with their teacher. Next, the students researched educational tools and channels such as Brain Pop, Khan Academy, and more. Then they wrote the scripts for their lesson, shot, and produced their video. Enjoy!

Design the Classroom

As a way of getting to know the students and to set the tone for a year of active involvement and collaboration, Grade 3 Teacher, Amie Wellings started the year with a Design Thinking project called ‘Design the Classroom. She posed the question:

“How can we make our classroom reflect our unique community of learners?”

Students discussed their favorite spaces and why they liked them, established constraints for the project (no elephants was a favorite suggestion) and thought about how they want their classroom to make them feel.

Mrs Rutherford and Grade 1 students

In chapel Mrs. Menacho posed a problem concerning Church Mouse, a beloved school pet. A few Grade 1 students were inspired and dove right into a solution during their open ended work time. Using a basic grid designed for a Project-Based Learning unit, Grade 1 Teacher Linda Rutherford met with students and used their written words to explain the plan.

The goal for each unit is to have a driving question, a product, a purpose, and an audience.

Mrs Rutherford and Grade 1 students

The water project unfolded over several weeks and followed the children’s discoveries and experiments. Teachers observed and asked questions to guide and to challenge the children’s curiosity and to test their theories as play with basters and funnels led to building a complex water system to drive a water wheel.

Read the full journey here.