BRONXVILLE, N.Y. - Some of Bronxville’s best and brightest students have been busy since the school year began, learning about the intricacies of their home state without ever leaving the classroom.
All year, Bronxville Elementary School fourth graders have been engaged in project-based learning experiences that allowed them to “gain knowledge through sustained inquiry and authentic learning,” where they have been challenged to solve problems while finding their individual voices.
At the beginning of the year, students were asked about what they hoped to learn about, and teachers decided to answer the question “what’s cool about the physical features of New York,” where they challenged students to discover more information about their home state and the different regions they may not have visited before.
After being briefed about various areas of the state, the students chose the region they were most curious about and were asked to do further research. As part of the project, they created travel brochures, commercials and websites to advertise the region they chose.
“We thought that this would be an interesting way for students to learn more about their state, as opposed to conducting a teacher-directed learning experience,” fourth grade teacher Heather DeCurtis said. “Instead of being told the information, they’re looking at a region of their choice and learning more about it on their own. They are guiding their own learning and its really sustaining their inquiry over a longer period of time.
According to district officials, Bronxville teachers have received extensive training in project-based learning and will continue to engage students in “meaningful learning,” that encourages them to think outside of the box and critically.
“The students are very interested in learning, because they were allowed to choose what they’re learning about,” DeCurtis added. “There’s no feeling of only doing this because their teacher told them to; they’re getting to do it because it’s what they chose.”