Getting Real with Project Based Learning

Students working collaboratively with community members

The Lakeside AVID team is committed to community involvement. AVID’s mission is to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success in a global society Throughout this year we have worked with the Millville Neighborhood Alliance on several projects such as Lightning Strikes Bogarts, The Front Door Project and most recently the Shark Tank.

Beginning in August of 2016, representatives from the Millville Neighborhood Alliance and Lakeside Middle School’s AVID program organized a purposeful PBL for our students. Each month community members, teachers, and administrators met to identify areas in the city that would benefit from improvement. The MNA presented on the history of Millville in October and the kids presented on Lakeside Middle School in November. In December we had a local architect, Larry Merighi,  work with the students on Design Thinking and Planning which really helped the students see the relevance and real-world  application of PBL.

The winning team from the Shark Tank

From January through March the students worked tirelessly on their projects. They researched, interviewed, and designed their projects. Each group tried different options and most importantly, failed many times on their projects. Eventually, they narrowed their topics and crafted their proposals.

On March 22 we assembled a group of community members such as the mayor, local business owners, administrators, and Larry Merighi, the architect who met with the students at the beginning of the project. All of the groups did an amazing job with their presentations. Our Superintendent funded each group with a $500 grant for the students to use to accomplish their tasks. Checkout the video from SNJ here.

One of our project was even featured on A Community Thrives website which is part of the USA Today Network. Take a few minutes to watch the video our students put together (click here).

Even if we do not get the $50,000 grant, it is clear that our kids understand and can implement a Project Based Learning experience in a Middle School with fidelity!