Last week, Bethany Year 7 pupils were off timetable for three days in order to take part in our Project Based Learning initiative. Pupils had to design an innovative and realistic way of helping to improve the lives of people with disabilities.
The Year 7s worked in teams to create their prototypes and had many practical sessions in Design & Technology to make it as real as possible. The pupils also had talks from inspirational speakers from charities such as The MS Society UK, Kent Association for the Blind and Parkinsons UK.
Alex Duncan, Year 7 pupil, said: “It was really fun and I would definitely like to do it again. Extra-curricular activities are really good because they’re very self-managed and I’d like to do more of them.”
At the end of the three days, pupils had the chance to display their creations – through marketing techniques they had learned along the way – in front of staff and parents. Assistant Head (Academic), Emily Hill, commented that all pupils did an “excellent job” of presenting to the judging panel.
She added: “Our first foray into PBL was hugely successful. The pupils were put into teams, in which they quickly developed relationships to ensure that they could complete the project with a successful outcome. They responded well to our visitors from Kent Association for the Blind, The MS Society and Parkinson’s UK, asking intelligent questions to develop their understanding of living with disability. All the groups achieved a successful outcome and did an excellent job of presenting to the judging panel and their parents. PBL is a great way of enabling pupils to explore real world issues creatively and independently; we will be looking to run a further project in the summer term and are looking to make PBL an integral part of our Year 7 and 8 curriculum as we move forwards.”
Will Buckle, from The MS Society, said: “Paul and I were really glad the pupils seemed to involve themselves in what we were saying. It’s a big subject and I was impressed that one of the boys asked about comparison with Motor Neurone Disease. There are many cross-over symptoms with other neurological conditions so it was clear the thought processes were working!”