Hopatcong Primary Grade Students and their Families Engage in an “Engineering Problem Based Task.”
Hopatcong students from Hudson Maxim and Tulsa Trail Schools participated in an Innovative Blended Early Learning Opportunity during the Blended Learning InnovateNJ Grant Kick-Off Event on Nov. 1, 2016. Students and their families applied critical thinking skills by competing in an “engineering” task of creating the tallest perch for Harry, the bird.
The Hudson Maxim Gym was the location for the Kick-Off event where the innovative, exciting and inspirational project took place. The keynote speaker was Jack O’Leary, an engineer who discussed engineering skills of critical thinking and problem solving.
Such problem-solving tasks are part of the Hopatcong School District’s $75,000 grant award for Year 2 of the project "Interdisciplinary Interactive Writing using Legos and iPads." This project is designed to build literacy skills, with a particular emphasis on writing, using LEGOs and iPads as engaging motivational tools in early childhood classrooms. The engineering component, building with Legos, accompanied with apps builds upon students' learning styles and promotes self-regulation, persistence, and problem-solving skills.
More about Problem-based learning:
Problem-based learning (PBL) is a student-centered pedagogy in which students learn about a subject through the experience of solving an open-ended problem found in trigger material. The PBL process does not focus on problem-solving with a defined solution, but it allows for the development of other desirable skills and attributes. This includes knowledge acquisition, enhanced group collaboration, and communication.
More about the Blended Early Learning Innovation Pilot Grant
The purpose of the Blended Early Learning Innovation Pilot grant program is to provide school districts with the ability to design and pilot innovative blended early learning tablet based instructional models based on the goal of improving children's mastery of literacy and mathematics skills. Pilot programs assist students in Kindergarten (K) through third (3) grades in attaining skills necessary to meet the rigorous requirements of the New Jersey Student Learning Standards. All proposed programs provide participating students with innovative blended early learning opportunities that incorporate the use of tablets as a means of helping students: Increase literacy and math proficiency through tablet-based ELA and math curricula.
Improve mastery of math and literacy skills by selecting and piloting tablet-based literacy and math programs in select schools.
The programs incorporate the following innovative blended instructional models as a means of effectively achieving the outcomes listed above.
The goal is to provide high-quality early learning opportunities to all children in America so that they enter kindergarten ready to succeed in school and life. In conjunction with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the U.S. Department of Education will work to significantly expand and improve services for young children and their families.