Student Voices Blog Post

Project-based Learning at Garfield Middle School

August 8, 2019

CCE has been working with Garfield Middle School for three years as part of the Massachusetts Personalized Learning Network. Alongside many implementation priorities for personalized practices has been a commitment to bringing project-based learning to classrooms across the middle school—to provide students with connections to authentic, real-world learning experiences.

I had the opportunity to stop by one of Mr. Horgan’s technology courses this spring and learn from two 7th grade students—Angelina and Samuel—about their experience building digital and 3D models of architecturally sound homes. Check out images of their work below and hear their responses to my inquiries about their perspectives on project-based learning.

Angelina's 3D House Model

Angelina's 3D House Model

“I designed the blueprint on illustrator, and when I felt confident with what I had done, I got to create the 3D model on Sketchup and then use the 3D printer. This project was different than most I’ve done before because I was the creator from the very beginning and had to make all of my own design decisions. I learned about myself that I have more creativity and artistic instinct than I used to think I did in, say, regular art class… if I could keep going with the project, or make a change, I would definitely want to add a second floor!”

Samuel's digital architecture model

Samuel’s Digital Architecture Model

“We’ve been working for about 5 weeks doing a digital design of a house using SketchUp. It’s been really fun to create the blueprint of a house because we got to choose what to put in our house… I thought about houses I’ve seen and the apartment I live in, then asked myself, ‘What would my dream home look like?’ We really only had a few requirements, and the rest is up to us. It’s been helpful to be working for so long because we get to see ideas from our classmates and Mr. Hogan will share his thoughts and ask us questions along the way, too.”

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An approach to teaching and learning that is flexible and adaptable, adjusting the system to the individual students and what they need to be successful in today's diverse, global world.
Students exercise voice and choice in their learning, embracing their individual strengths, needs, interests, and cultural backgrounds.
The ability to use the cultural characteristics, experiences, and perspectives of culturally and linguistically diverse learners as conduits for teaching them more effectively. (Geneva Gay, 2002)
Developed in a way that ensures a barrier-free environment for all students, ensuring that every student, particularly those within historically underserved groups, has what they need to be successful. To be truly equitable, schools must not only have equity of opportunity, but of outcomes.
The process of envisioning, designing, and implementing a school model, either from scratch as a way of redesigning and disrupting the existing educational system, or as part of the transformation of an existing school.