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Penguin Problem Based Learning (PBL) project

“You are a zoo architect at the local zoo.  You just learned that 2 new penguins will be joining the zoo soon and you need to design and build a new habitat for them.  To do this you’ll need to research penguins and learn what their natural habitat is like and what penguins need to survive.  Pick a partner and get started!”

 This is what students in Ms. Selvidio’s 1st grade class heard when they came to school one day at the beginning of February.  They spent time during that month using digital and print resources to research.  The class researched as a whole group and individually with students using their Chromebook for the digital research (using resources like MyOn, Epic!, and Discovery Education).  Students also went on a virtual field trip to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo to meet a zoo architect.  They learned how she does her job and why it’s so important.  After their research was completed the student pairs worked together to collaborate and drew out plans for their exhibit, which they then created in a box.  When their boxes were complete each student built a penguin out of clay, painted it and added it to the box.  The final touch was a poster teaching zoo visitors about penguins. This whole integrated process covered more than a dozen reading, writing, science and technology first grade objectives.  

Here’s what some of the students had to say about their penguin PBL.

“I loved making the penguins, and I was excited about how they would turn out.” -  Kyleigh

“I loved making the habitat in the box, because I liked seeing how their natural habitat would look.” -  Austin 

“I liked reading the books on Epic! because they were really interesting, and I learned a lot of things about penguins that I didn’t know.” -  Yaryna

 “I loved watching the live cameras of the penguin being fed at the aquarium.” - Jacob