St. Alphonsus School

Team Members: Mary Senior, Michelle Moore, Deb Speese, Jill Lebiedzinski, Monica Cholaj
Community: Archdiocese of Philadelphia Year 2, 2010-2011
Grade: This project could be used from grades 4-8.





The Crisis is the Gulf is an important topic to study because it affected the lives of many people and species. Through this project based learning experience, students were able to put themselves in the shoes of the shrimpers, environmentalists and workers at BP. There are many ways to incorporate the core standards into this project throughout education. Students were able to research, explore, invent bacteria and read about the Crisis happening in the Gulf. This PBL Unit offers lifelong learning and builds character in education because it was hands on and the students were thoroughly involved throughout.
The goals of the unit were to enable the students to learn about an event that was happening in the world around us while having them create a solution to the problem, the oil spill. Students will be able to participate in hands on activities throughout the unit with a final movie being created based on their research.
Students will be evaluated with tests on vocabulary and content along with creating a bacteria to eat away at oil using the scientific method and creating a final movie. Students were also asked to fill in a reflection, some of their responses were: We became independent learners, emerssed in an authentic learning experience to become experts, have a thorough understanding of the crisis and can discuss controversial issues with ease, and most of all we had fun for twelve weeks!
Identify objectives (concepts) that are taught and are related to the topic of your unit. These objectives (concepts) will identify the topic-related information that students will be expected to learn.
The Unit was started by placing the Scholastic article, “The Gulf Oil Spill”, on the student’s desks. The oil spill was also simulated with sand, molasses, oil and dawn.
To end the Unit the students put together a movie using green screen technology and the research they gathered.
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Sheryl is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Powerful Learning Practice. She works with schools and districts from around the world helping them to infuse technology into their curriculums and by leading other digital conversion efforts. Sheryl also consults with governments, educational organizations and non-profits in development of their various professional learning initiatives. Sheryl is a sought-after presenter at national and international events, speaking on topics related to digital and online learning, teacher and educational leadership, online community building, and other educational issues impacting children of poverty. Sheryl served on the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Board of Directors for six years. She co-authored The Connected Educator: Learning and Leading in a Digital Age with Lani Ritter Hall. Sheryl has four children and four grandsons, Luke, Logan, Levi and Tanner and a trio of dachshunds. You can find out more on her blog and on Twitter @snbeach.

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