From movies to pamphlets, interactive quizzes to augmented reality, Bearden High School students demonstrate their knowledge in a variety of ways.
Teachers from all disciplines utilize project-based learning. For sophomore Tori Bates and her AP Government classmates, it involves creating an interactive museum detailing key moments in American history.
“I think the project helped us understand it visually, and see it, unlike reading a sheet of paper that would have been paragraphs long,” she said.
In senior Jake Grayson’s AP Language class, literary analysis comes in a variety of forms.
“We were supposed to do one print presentation and then a multimedia presentation,” he said, noting that many students created documentaries and pamphlets.
Juniors in Kelly Dreher’s English III classes turned Bearden’s West Mall into a roaring West Egg party Jay Gatsby would be proud of, complete with 1920’s style speakeasy, jazz muzic and a 15 foot Empire State Building.
“They’re still learning the standards that they’re supposed to learn, and they’re still being assessed on that, but it just looks a little bit different,” said TPACK Coach Rachel Harmon. “They’re working in teams to answer a question and they’re creating products, instead of just sitting, taking notes, and then taking tests.”
Project-based learning is a key part of creating a personalized learning environment, a major focus for the Knox County Schools’ five-year strategic plan “Excellence for Every Child”
“We have the ability to be a lot more creative and do the project how you want to do and chose your own focus of the project,” Grayson said. “It really motivates and engages students far more than traditional lectures and research papers do.”
“I think it prepares students for the real world,” Harmon said. “By giving them authentic tasks they’re supposed to be doing and giving them deadlines, they’re really more prepared for the real world that they’re going to face.”