ACE Mentors recently gathered at JKRP Architects where they built geometric shapes with marshmallows and stacked red plastic cups. Some also got fingerprinted! Were they attending the most raucous party of the year? Nope. The mentors were learning about Project Based Learning and how they can use the brand new Curriculum Kit to engage and enlighten their students.
The Workshop began with a review of the successes from last year, areas of focus for upcoming sessions, and an introduction to Project Based Learning — the theory that allowing students to actively participate in their learning with hands-on experiences increases their understanding, interest, and excitement about a topic.
Following this discussion, the newly created Curriculum Kit was introduced to the Mentors. The Kit, which contains an overview of best teaching practices (Tips for Success), ideas for Greetings & Closings, and more than a dozen Lesson Plans to ease facilitation of mentoring sessions, will be beta tested this year. Mentors and students are encouraged to provide feedback on the Kit’s content so that it can be refined to best suit their goals and experiences.
Using two lesson plans from the Kit, “2D Drawings to 3D Models – Marshmallows” and “Cup Tower,” mentors, like the students they will soon be working with, actively engaged in hands-on activities and attempted to accomplish a common goal.
Mentors concluded the evening by reflecting on their experience and discussing what worked and what didn’t. They left armed with insight into Project Based Learning, a copy of the Curriculum Kit, and a smile because, after all, they had some fun while learning something new.