Monday, June 6, 2016

Middle School Project-based Learning


How do we inform the general public about how to prevent spreading the invasion of nonnative species? This was the driving question that guided Mrs. Vann and her 8th grade English students through a challenging and relevant project this spring.


To answer this question, the students first did in-depth research on their chosen invasive species in collaboration with our librarian Mrs. Besselsen. They used this research to write a formal research paper highlighting their chosen species including how to prevent the spread of this species in our local region.

In addition to their own research, the class hosted three park rangers from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park to learn more about the park service and the invasive species that threaten our natural areas. The students also spent a day at the park learning through hands-on experiences. Mrs. Vann explained, "Students adventured to Glen Haven to complete dune restoration along the shoreline as well as beach and trail clean-up. Students started their work at different areas in the park, including the Dune Climb Heritage Trail, Glen Haven Cannery and Sleeping Bear Point Trailhead."


Park rangers visiting the 8th Grade English classes to share their knowledge and expertise.

Students playing a "deer and wolves" game to learn about predators and natural selection.

The top of the dune climb!

As a culmination for their project, students were tasked with using a variety of technologies to share their new knowledge and understanding with a specific audience in order to make a positive difference in the world. Students created items such as bumper stickers, t-shirt designs, children's games, video productions and brochures. See the pictures below for a few examples. Mrs. Vann had this to say about the project "There's nothing that makes a person appreciate something more than giving of one's time and energy. After watching my students clean up the beaches for the piping plovers and the Heritage Trail for our community, I know they appreciate the beauty that surrounds us. Knowledge is power."

What an amazing experience for our students. Great job Mrs. Vann!


The tough guys with their tough message on how to prevent the spread of invasive species in our local lakes and rivers


Spencer's informative tri-fold brochure for park visitors.

An informative and fun matching game for kids!