Reflection: Problem-based Approaches NASA Rocks (Part 1/2) - Section 2: NASA Rocks - A Letter From NASA


Why did I implement a problem-based learning experience for this unit on rocks & minerals?

Easy! It makes the concept authentic and real-world. Students can apply what they know and understand, synthesize that information, search for convincing evidence, collaborate with peers, and ultimately communicate that data using 21st century skills. In the past, I have implemented a "basic rock lab" where students go through a guided inquiry to test rocks and minerals. In this experience, students use their background knowledge to solve an authentic problem with rocks and minerals. Students are engaged and the learning is exponential.

I think that PBL provides unique experiences for my students. They learn to think critically, solve problems, collaborate with peers, collect evidence, come to a conclusion, and communicate what they have learned.

Problem-based learning is student-centered. That means that students "drive" the work. Students ask the questions, design how they want to test their matter, and form a valid argument that they need to communicate to another scientist.

Problem-based learning can be a challenge to implement at first but.....try it. You will get better at PBL each time you go through the experience with your students. You will learn along the way too!

  Problem Based Learning
  Problem-based Approaches: Problem Based Learning
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NASA Rocks (Part 1/2)

Unit 7: Rocks & Minerals
Lesson 7 of 8

Objective: SWBAT identify and categorize unknown objects based on characteristics of minerals.

Big Idea: Understanding characteristics & benefits of minerals & rocks, students work through a problem-based learning experience, collaborate with partners, use data to write a letter to a NASA scientist, and create a document showing observations & experiments.

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Science, Rock Cycle, minerals, rocks, NASA, Problem Based Learning
  40 minutes
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