PBL – Million Dollar Classroom

Day 1 – April 27

This is another project taken from Atomic Learning that I started with the students. The first day was spent watching the student resource videos in order to give the students an introduction and overview of the project. I made copies of the resources on the training module (graphic organizer and list of resources) and then had the students discuss and research in groups. I would like to add here that this project will be done individually by the students. There will be occasional opportunities for them to work in groups, but each students will be turning in their own plan and spreadsheet for a classroom. Following this group discussion, we had a short lesson wrap up and discussed any questions or issues they had while researching.

Here are some questions and issues the students had by the end of this first day.

  1. Length of time the classroom will be used. How much time will we need to stretch out the million dollars?
    • This classroom design will be based on one school year. 
  2. Where will the classroom be located – which state or country?
    1. Must be in NC
  3. Do we buy, rent, or build?
    • Classroom can be part of an already existing school or built from scratch.
  4. Information on Teacher Salary
    • Teacher salary will be based on NC Salary Information
  5. Class Size
    • Average class sizes and teacher:student ratio based on NC statistics.
    • Class sizes are up to you – can be above or below average
  6. Money (Estimation, Whole Numbers or Decimals)
    • Decimals will not be used.
    • Estimation and rounding will be done on an individual basis.

The solutions to these problems were decided by the students after some discussion. This was a great first lesson and the students seem to be very enthusiastic about it. I will be writing more as the work continues.

Days 2,3 and 4 (April 28, May 1 and May 2)

It’s been harder to work on a daily basis with this project now that we are in review mode for end of grade tests. However, it is a great break for the students from the what could be constant review. I usually give them the last 20-30 minutes of math class to work on it and several of them have decided to do it at home.

What I am discovering with this project is that the emphasis is not really on the computation and doing math. The focus of this for the students is what you do with those numbers and what do those numbers mean in terms of spending. Instead of being just a number in a word problem, they represent things in a classroom, in their classroom. It has real value to them. It is also about learning how to work with a spreadsheet. The videos on Atomic Learning do a great job of giving the students step by step instructions on how to set up and format their sheets. I went through the first 5 with them together as a class and then had them do the rest on their own. They did not come up to me once with questions about the sheets. They either figured it out on their own, or took advantage of some group time I gave them to ask for help from their classmates. I was very impressed with how well they were able to do this.

Some students have chosen to work on this at home and they are close to finishing. It looks like they might be able to present these in the next few days. I am debating how much I should get involved with the editing and checking of their spreadsheet. I was considering inviting my principal and assistant principal to see some of the presentations and make some comments about budgets and school spending.