Plan for the day

Group Plenary (30min)

The day begins with the 16 students meeting with their supervising teacher where there is some preliminary discussions about the purpose of the project and some important times that they should know about (like lunch time and when they should be finished). It is also worth giving some hints about how to work well as a team and the skills that are required:

  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Cooperation
  • Adaptability

Here is the power point minus the humorous (?) commentary about why football would not be a good exercise to test my team work skills.

Planning Stage (1 hour)

After the group plenary the students split into their 4 groups and decide on how they are going to tackle the problem. At this stage it is best if they stay in the same room so that the teacher is on hand to help.

Example 1

School theme "How can we make our school more Energy Efficient"? with the common goal to produce a presentation to the rest of the group of 16 about what they find out.

Each group of 4 then sits down and brainstorms ideas. They might also use the internet to do some research on "alternative energy in Norway" to get them started. After the initial brainstorming they agree on the topic of their research topic and try to refine this into a question.

Group 1 - Can we build a hydro power station using the water running in the stream that flows past the school?

Group 2 - Can we use the sea water to create energy?

Group 3 - Is it possible to produce energy using solar panels?

Group 4 - Can we reduce the amount of energy we use in the shower?

Example 2

School Theme "Who can make the strongest bridge spanning 1m out of 30 sheets of paper?"

This is a different type of project and doesn't require the students to define a task since it is already defined for them. However they still need a planning stage to decide what sort of construction they are going to make, this also could involve using the internet to research different types of bridges. To highlight the "International" element you could allocate countries to each team then limit them to building a bridge common in that country.

You may think that building a bridge won't take enough time to keep them occupied for the day however this is all part of the test, the students know how long they have and should organise their schedule so that they fill the day producing the best possible result.

Once the angle has been decided upon it is useful if they draw up a plan for the day that includes times they will meet and when they need to finish certain tasks. Students often don't see the point in making things formal in this way but it is good practice. They should also allocate jobs which will need to be reviewed as the day progresses.

Activity Stage (6 hours)

During the activity stage the students might be in the same place, as in the bridge building exercise, or they could be in different places, for example one could be researching micro hydro power on the internet another measuring water flow in the river and a third finding out from the school administration if the school owns the river. During this time there should be regular meetings where they have an agenda and review their progress in meeting targets. This is also the time to discuss how well the group members are fulfilling their roles and if need be re-allocate roles and responsibilities. This stage also includes the time needed to make materials for the presentation (power point, video, posters etc.)

Reporting Stage (1 hour)

The presentations, done in front of the group of 16, should take about 10 minutes each with 5 minutes for questions. Students often go a bit overboard here focusing on trying to make it funny rather than factual, well at least its entertaining. You could do presentations for the whole school but listening to 20 different presentations can get a bit tedious for everyone.

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