This idea stems from my previous life when I was working for the CSIRO. The Model Hot Air Balloon Competition was a big event on the Double Helix Science Club’s calendar. Spectacular flying creations filling the sky were hugely popular with students of all ages and was run in conjunction with the Canberra balloon festival.
Re-packaging the Model Hot Air Balloon Competition as a PBL was something I have been quietly mulling over for several years. 2015 was going to be the year to officially launch (no pun intended) this project.
DQ: How do the different variables influence how a Model Hot Air Balloon flies?
Structure is good. Each group would be given the same materials to build their creation … I said to myself. My structure was stifling creativity. Students immediately expressed a desire to have ultimate choice in their use of materials … who was I to stand in the way of creativity?
Students worked in groups of three and needed to complete each benchmark in a specific order. In a moment of brilliance I decided that groups would be assigned ‘buddy’ groups that were responsible for checking their benchmarks before the teacher was consulted. If the teacher wasn’t happy with the benchmark that was presented the ‘buddy’ group would be responsible to assist in bringing it up to standard.