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Showing Brenda Branch

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Second Place

K-2 | Science & Tech | Other

Station WFSU in Florida

My Classroom Innovation

In my classroom, completely populated by students with Emotional Behavioral Disorders, engagement is increased by the use of fun, creative, and engaging projects. Using formats familiar to these “digital natives” reduces stress and fear of failure. Our study of dinosaurs was a project-based curriculum that helped students acquire and refine problem-solving skills as they worked individually and in teams to find, process, and synthesize information. The use of PBS Dinosaur Train resources provided a variety of games and activities that enhanced and broadened their knowledge base by exploring related concepts. Student enthusiasm for learning concepts in math, science, and engineering was heightened their participation in scientific inquiries on Dinosaur Train. These real-world applications lead my students in becoming eager and proficient learners. My innovative delivery of instruction helped students unravel the mysteries and complexities of scientific concepts by training them to approach science curriculum in new ways. My students are not passive observers; they became ecologists, biologists, scientists, and paleontologists!

How Students were Engaged

I capitalize on my students’ natural love of digital technology to engage them in assignments. Using a Web-based, standards-aligned, game-driven program like Dinosaur Train makes learning fun, exciting, and challenging. And the more students are engaged, the better their opportunity to master content and show learning gains. As part of the culmination of our dinosaur unit, each student constructed their own more complex project applying what they had learned from the Dinosaur Train lessons. Students produced digital documents of their learning experience to share with their peers. Finally, my students became mentors to younger students and demonstrated their new found knowledge by teaching and guiding others. A journey of discovery, exploration, and sharing is a part of my students’ everyday learning.

PBS Program/Content Used

Dinosaur Train