May 21, 2015
The seventh graders that I observed today were offering up solutions to a real-world problem. Some titles of solution presentations were "Reusable Cattle Bags", "Farm Advice", Pesticides That are Less Harmful", "Moving Animals", "Let's Make a Law", "Is Pollution Really a Bad Thing?", "Cow Manure Run-off", and "Run-off Robot". These students have worked for several weeks to research the problem and develop realistic action plans that they then presented to three judges from the community. The problem:The watershed is becoming polluted.
The science teacher, Crystal Barnett-Sheaves, got the students involved in this work by participating in the Problem Scenario Project available to teachers in the summer. Teachers that participate in this professional development opportunity are partnered with a local business person to develop a real-world problem related to curriculum for the students to solve. The business partner then comes to the classroom to participate during implementation of the scenario.
In this case, the business partner was Kenny Sims from the non-profit group Friends of the Lower Muskingum. He worked with the students while they were researching solutions and brought in a working watershed model to demonstrate how pollution travels through water. He was also one of the judges. Trace Elder, who is a junior from the Blennerhasset FFA, was another judge for today. Trace commented that, "Some of the solutions are pretty good. My favorite so far has been the "Cow Patties in a Pile."
In terms of careers, students were making references to researchers, geneticists, animal behaviorists, farmers, and a variety of business owners. One group even contacted 3 Bar Biologics Inc. to find out about the eco-friendly pesticide that the business is developing. In order to complete the project students had to collaborate, research, write up a report, present in front of their peers, and communicate with an adult from the community.
Having teachers implement real-world problem solving alongside of local business partners provides more information, connections, and resources for our students, which is what we do here at Building Bridges to Careers. To find out how to participate this summer, keep an eye on our events page. The summer professional development opportunity will be posted once it gets scheduled.