The fragmented nature of the school week, with in my case lessons of 60 minutes, often rather dictates what’s possible and what’s not. A chance to work on a project for a more extended time doesn’t come along so often.
A project week, without the regular timetable offers so many possibilities. Things that perhaps simply aren’t possible in a series of shorter sessions, or a chance to press on more rapidly to carry a project or theme much further than you might normally do. Yet, despite such potential opportunities, often the results of a project week don’t make the best of these chances.
When I first entered education, I was told, ‘get your lesson material right, and the rest will normally follow’, a project week is no exception to this rule. Sometimes judging the amount of time needed by pupils to complete their tasks can be a challenge and with the quantity of tasks needed to fill a whole day of activities. But above all what seems to be crucial is variety in work forms, along with a series of cut-off points where a new phase in the project begins.
I have just designed and completed a project that ran for two four-hour sessions. It had a series of inter-related, but distinctively different parts to it and focused on a number of themes and skills:
In a little more detail these steps ran roughly in this order:
By the end of the first day, all the manipulated photographs were presented in a signal digital artwork. The second day offered a longer session focusing on two activities, but the pupils involved had to choose only the one they felt most drawn to:
The group I was working with was a class of 32, academically strong 13 and 14 year olds.
Looking back at the project and having discussed the way it ran with the pupils themselves, I see only very minor adjustments to be needed for a future rerunning of the assignments.
Below are the results of the project, the 3D design work, using Tinkercad.com as a design tool still have to be printed, but the documentation of the results shows how well the pupils picked this up.
Should you be interested in the specific lesson material I used for the project, don’t hesitate to get in touch, I’m happy to share it.