Project and Problem Based Learning has a rich history at St. Gregory, and it continues to advance.   This week our 9th graders are embarking on a ten week interdisciplinary project, and this project memo demonstrates many aspects of outstanding PBL:
  • an assignment grounded in a real-world situation;
  • a clear timetable;
  • important roles and responsibilities for the team members;
  • a sense of “professionalism” as students act as they would in a job setting;
  • an integral and essential use of technology to support their project;
  • clearly defined, high standards for the project to be completed;
  • and a rich academic subject, in this case bioethics.
This project was designed and is being implemented by English teacher Kate Oubre, Ph.D., and Biology teacher Kevin Rolle.
Bioethics Webinar Project

Ourolle Educational Consultants has been hired by Arizona Department of Education to create an educational program dealing with bioethics, which they consider the most important set of ethical issues facing humans in the 21st century.  They have designated the topics that they want covered as well as the grade levels in which this program will be implemented.

They realize that this program cannot be fully implemented within the standard curriculum already in place, and they are not ready to provide teacher training, but they still want this material covered. Therefore, they have hired you to create online lessons.

The final product is a completely self-guided and self-contained webinar, including a written document, visual aid that reinforces the key concepts, interactive lesson, and quiz at the end to make sure that students got the information.

Your 3-person team has been assigned to create an online lesson for 7, 8, 11, or 12th grade. Each team has to “pitch” the reason why you want a particular topic and particular focus within that topic to the project managers, Dr. Oubre and Mr. Rolle.  Why is this the most important topic to this group?  Why should this group be assigned this topic rather than a different group?  You will write a written proposal and perform a short verbal “pitch.”  The project managers will then assign each group a topic.

Once you have a topic and a grade level, each member of the group needs to take one the the three main components of the research and create an individual research report that is correctly documented, or else your company will commit plagiarism and you’ll all be out of a job…and it will be your fault.

Once all research has been completed, your team will create the online lesson for a real audience of St. Gregory students.
The students who will be actually looking at the websites will be evaluating it as test subjects to see if the project is good enough to publish for the larger state curriculum.

Potential Topics:
Genetically modified foods
Human cloning
Stem cell technology
Eugenics/Engineering Intelligence
Designer babies
Creation of artificial life
Extinct species cloning
Genetic Engineering (not GMF)
Genetic Testing

Major Deadlines (subject to change, so make sure you keep up with current reports):

January 13:  Written Proposal due on Moodle
January 18-21:  Verbal Pitch
January 25: Group update:  Designation of individual research components and researchers

Individual Research Paper Deadlines
February 1:  Outline with source citations.  We will complete bibliographic entry formats in English class
February 8:  First version due with citations.
February 17:  Papers returned with comments for revision
February 23:  Final version due

Webinar:  Group online project
March 3:  Breakdown of individual roles for the project
March 9:  Update/Progress report, including initial peer evaluation
March 11:  End of 3rd quarter

March 18:  Final due date for online project
Webinar online classes will be “field tested” in late March.

25% individual paper
50%video/presentation teaching effectiveness (including 10% self and peer evaluation)
25% benchmarks (all other assignments)
Overall Project grade is worth approximately 1/3 of quarter 3 and semester 2 grades in both English and biology.