Students at Moreland Primary School are engaging in projects that include civics, geography, politics, economics, digital media, music and creative writing.
Grade 5/6 and physical education teacher Natalie Schilov recently ran an Island Project with her students. This project was referenced in her nomination for a Victorian Education Excellence Award for Outstanding Primary School Teacher. It was successful in engaging students with learning at school.
A whole new world
Natalie and one of her teaching team colleagues created the Island Project for her class with the question – 'how can we create a democratic and economically-viable community?'
The students set to work creating their own maps, flora and fauna, flags, currency, community logos and names. Using creative writing skills, they wrote stories about how they came to the Island and formed an Island newspaper.
The students formed a democratic government, elected leaders, created a constitution and laws. They used 3D printing, sewing and Minecraft to bring the Island to life.
'All students worked creatively and collaboratively to complete these tasks, which was fantastic,' said Natalie.
Natalie says the students really enjoyed the Island project.
'There was a very high level of engagement in the project. Even though it was a bit chaotic at times, all students had a role in their communities and felt like valued members.'
'Students enjoyed the freedom to create their own world and that they got choice in how and what they worked on.'
Moreland Primary School has led students on other engaging school projects like volunteering with local environmental group CERES, a community personal training program, partnering with the RACV for their "Human Powered Vehicle" program and making short films.
Natalie says project-based learning allows students to deepen their learning.
'They become almost mini experts in whatever their project is about. They also develop a range of skills that we believe will hold them in good stead for their future education and in the work force. They collaborate, communicate, and think critically and creatively when working on their projects.'