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An Interdisciplinary Educational Lab - the “Constructionist” Approach

Melissa Rosenblatt, Michelle Bernstein, Patrick Kerrigan, Jen Blum, Nitzan Resnick — The Rashi School

The Constructionist approach developed by Seymour Papert, suggests that students through a discovery approach and the use of previously acquired knowledge, gain new skills and implement them in a new learning domain. Our interdisciplinary learning implements this approach throughout the entire school. Each grade has a year-long essential question that is attended to, by each of the disciplines, demonstrating the complexity and the multiple approaches which each problem can be dealt with. In a new learning space, coined the Kol-lab (kol, in Hebrew - voice, meaning where every voice, that of the learner and that of the client, is being celebrated), our students further practice the constructionist approach. They implement knowledge acquired in one or more disciplines, into hands-on projects, integrating maker, arts, engineer, computer science, science, music, and design process to execute their products. Students interact with professionals and clients to inspire and elicit feedback on their design. Throughout their projects, students are required to create a digital portfolio where they document their progression and mastery of skills. These portfolios are presented side by side with the end products. Finally, students discuss their portfolios and products with their mentors using a one point rubric.

Conversational Practice

After a brief introduction, participants of this session will be introduced into our virtual escape rooms. In these rooms and based on their needs and level of expertise, participants will progress individually, or in teams, designing their own course or parts of it. The experience will be divided into four parts/rooms, and participants based on their needs and choice will progress from one room to another. The rooms are: Implementing learning (in any discipline or grade) to another domain, mapping skills from each domain that have to be mastered for a successful completion of the project, crafting tools and steps towards the creation of a digital portfolio, and lastly, creating one point rubrics (a conversational tool for both teachers and students) to assess multifaceted projects. Towards the last part of the conversation participants will be asked to create their own digital portfolio for this session, including a personalized logo, and to attend to the new skills they mastered, including social emotional skills, and to their satisfaction/reflection on the process and the product.

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