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Project Based Learning in fourth grade

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As Middlesex elementary School fourth-grade students watch, Diet Coke shoots out of the 2-liter bottles during a scientific experiment.

by Sara Spain
MES fourth-grade teacher

Fourth-graders at Middlesex Elementary School (MES) have gotten off to an exciting year. We have done numerous hands-on projects as well as engaging lessons in various subject areas. While studying Virginia Geography, we replicated the map of Virginia using play dough and cookie mix. The students were required to label the 5 regions of Virginia, as well as the products and industries of each region.

While studying Scientific Investigation, the 4th grade students were transformed into scientists. Through a thrilling hands-on activity using Diet Coke and Mentos, they worked their way through the 6 steps of the Scientific Method. They were required to ask a question, research the material, make a hypothesis, perform an experiment, analyze data, and make a conclusion. While conducting the experiment, we used multiple variables that altered the outcome of the experiment.

The activities are project-based learning, which is a dynamic approach to teaching in which students explore real-world problems and challenges. With this type of active and engaged learning, students are inspired to obtain a deeper knowledge of the subjects they’re studying.

It is very important to connect what the students are learning in the classroom with the real world and allow them to see the relevance of what is being taught.

posted 10.23.2013

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