Our grade 9 team recently completed a cross-disciplinary 'challenge-based learning' project as part of an Apple/New Media Consortium international research study.
Challenge Based Learning is an approach to designing classroom work with many similarities to inquiry-based learning. CBL involves students engaging in real-world issues, conducting data-collection and analysis, and then designing and implementing a solution to an issue.
For our part of the research project, our grade 9s examined a number of issues related to sustainable and ethical food choices. The students had choice over which specific aspect of ethical or sustainable food they wanted to examine in detail.
Students looked at topics such as:
- product packaging
- food waste
- local food diets
- organic foods
- transportation costs
- genetically modified organisms
In groups students spent a week researching topics leading to the implementation of a change in their own food choices that they could sustain and track over a week. The students had to design an instrument or measure that would track the impact of their change in diet.
All the steps, lesson plans, and rubrics can be found here on the project website created by the teachers.
Here is one of the solution videos created by a group of grade 9 students: