Monday, May 25, 2020

Project Based Learning: Design a Zoo

Design a Zoo: Project Based Learning | Apples to Applique

    I love the whole idea of project-based learning! The idea of addressing all subject areas in the context of one project makes so much sense, and allows for better real-life application. I had dabbled in PBL a little bit, but never to the extent of this project, in which I asked students to design a zoo.

    This was the perfect project for the end of our strange traditional-turned-virtual school year, and the kids really took it and ran with it! They were able to complete it at their own pace, collaborating with their families, and it went so well that I'm already planning to use it again next year when we're (hopefully) back in the traditional classroom.

    While the task of designing a zoo sounds monumental, I broke it down into individual tasks for my students. Differentiation was easy as I gave families the freedom of doing more or less than suggested for each task, depending on the needs of their child and family. (Let's face it, crisis schooling is not the same as homeschooling; I know some families just didn't have time to go all-out on a project, and that's okay!) Using this in the traditional classroom will make for easy differentiation, too, and I've included teacher tips for both higher and lower lever learners for each task in the download which is available here in my store!

    This project includes all of the subjects and many first grade standards. First, students select animals to include in their zoo and conduct research on them, making notes about what they eat, what kind of climate they need, and more. Next, they design the habitats based on their research, and create a plaque for each animal exhibit.

Design a Zoo: Project Based Learning | Apples to Applique

    They work on mapping skills as they create a map of their zoo, and coding as they then use their map to give directions to popular destinations.

Design a Zoo: Project Based Learning | Apples to Applique

    Math is integrated as they come up with prices for tickets and extra amenities they included in their zoo, and also as they set a feeding schedule for their animals.

Design a Zoo: Project Based Learning | Apples to Applique

Design a Zoo: Project Based Learning | Apples to Applique

    After all of that work is done, they get to add in art and technology as they design advertisements and create a commercial. Some of my kids even decided to design t-shirts!

    It was so satisfying as a teacher to see all of the ways my students completed this project. After completing all of the tasks and research, most of them actually set up a physical zoo in their house, and they were incredibly creative! Some of them made animals out of clay, others used stuffed animals--one even used her sister wearing an animal hat! They all truly made it their own, while learning and applying skills along the way.

    I hope your class has as much fun with this as mine did! You can find it here in my shop or here in my TPT store.

    Keep teaching with heart and passion!

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