KYMS: Project Based Learning

Project-Based Learning (PBL)

WHAT is it?

Project Based Learning is a student-centered pedagogy that involves a dynamic classroom approach where students gain a deeper knowledge through active, real-world exploration. Over an extended period of time, students investigate and respond to an engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge. Project Based Learning at KYMS includes exhibitions where students will make their projects public by presenting their work to real-world audiences beyond the classroom.

WHY is it Important?

At KYMS we believe that students learn best when learning is personalized and placed in a real- world context. After completing a project, students understand content more deeply, remember what they learn and retain it longer than is often the case with traditional instruction. In a project, students learn how to take initiative and responsibility, build their confidence, solve problems, work in teams, communicate ideas, and manage themselves and their time more effectively.

HOW will it work at KYMS?

Throughout the year students work on several long-term interdisciplinary projects in both Limudei Kodesh and General Studies. Each day, one and half hours is set aside for a Project Block where they work on their different projects, receive feedback and support from their teachers and peers, and manage their time. These Project Blocks alternate daily between Limudei Kodesh and General Studies.

At all times students are engaged either in preparing or presenting a long-term project in each of the following areas:

STEAM projects use Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking.

Sample STEAM Project: During a multi-week STEAM unit, students focus on ecosystems, exploring the question “Can humans live in balance with nature?” To investigate this question, students research, design, and build a greenhouse that can withstand different elements, support different types of life, and serve the community. Students explore different types of ecosystems, visit local urban farms, and engage in a collaborative design process with their classmates. Student greenhouses are exhibited at the culmination of the unit to members of the KYMS community.

Humanities integrates Language Arts with Social Sciences, and encourages students to develop an awareness of themselves, their community, and the world. Through the exploration of human cultures, students read, write, discuss, and think critically about our past, present, and future.

Sample Humanities Project: Students explore immigration in the United States, focusing on the question “What does it mean to be an American?” They explore various time periods in American history, reading both primary and secondary sources, watching films and documentaries, exploring music, and visiting historical sites such as Ellis Island and the Tenement Museum. Midway through their unit, they partner with a new American (someone they know or assigned to them through the school) and they learn about the person’s life. They will use the design process to create a final exhibition piece around what they learned in the form of a multi- media project as well as complete a research paper on a time period of their choice. Throughout the project students explore historical issues surrounding immigration and the challenges faced by today’s immigrants as well as those in the past.

Navi: Students will explore the Nevi’im Rishonim through guided group and independent study. Each set of perakim will be framed at the outset by a driving project that will ask them to do something with the material in a creative and meaningful way.

Torah Integration: Students are challenged to draw from the Chumash and Mishnah or Gemara texts they are studying in their LK Skills and Seminar Block in order to produce something that demonstrates the unity of Torah She Bi-Chtav and Torah She-Ba’al Peh. In doing so, students learn to synthesize various sources of information, apply their learning, and delve deeper into the intertextuality of Torah study.

Sample Navi Project: Students will learn about the leadership of Yehoshua in the first book of Navi, focusing on the question “What type of leader isof Yehoshua?” They will begin by examining the relevant perakim either in chavruta or in small group study. Students will then choose another great leader in Tanach and compare and contrast his or her leadership style with that of Yehoshua. Finally, they will be challenged to see how these two models relate to modern day governments, and communities – from the United States, to the Parliament of Israel, to the administration of Kohelet Yeshiva Middle School and student government. Through each stage of the project, students will also be working on conveying the contrasting leadership styles through an artistic medium or some other form of creative expression. Students will then bring together their creative work to form a single piece which will be put on public display at Kohelet Yeshiva.

Sample Torah Integration Project: Students will explore how one can create a sacred space by drawing from and integrating what they learned from their study of the Mishkan in Chumash, the building of the Beit Hamikdash in Navi and Masechet Middot in Mishna. Students will research the measurements for the various vessels from the text and its commentaries, learn how to convert the measurements to a model scale, and then 3D print the vessels using the school’s 3D printer. Students will then be asked to run an educational program about the Mishkah for 4th and 5th graders in the Lab School using the vessels they created.

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