Sixth Grade Agents of Change Project-Based Learning Showcase

How can we make change happen? That was the question Pardes sixth grade students were challenged to answer through a PBL (project-based learning) opportunity this year. Throughout their sixth grade curriculum, the students explored ways that the world changes around us. They learned about “agents of change,” the people, tools, and events that have resulted in major changes that have impacted our current daily lives. 

Students participated in a speakers’ roundtable, during which time they heard from a slate of professionals who are currently making change happen in our community. After reflecting on the thoughts and experiences of the speakers, students identified areas they would like to change. Cooperative groups were formed based on these common areas, including animals, the environment, sports, and more. Students worked together to come up with an idea to enact a positive change in the school, community, or world. During their class work time, the students planned and worked on their projects, reached out to community members and researched tactics to enable their project.  

To make sure they spent their time productively, students utilized a strategy they learned from NASA engineer, Catherine Koerner, planning their time in 15-minute increments. At the Agents of Change Showcase, middle school students, parents, and community members were invited to learn about the students’ projects and celebrate the students’ effort, vision, and ingenuity during their PBL. 

Several teachers worked together to create this interdisciplinary project, which developed 21st Century skills and applied concepts and knowledge learned in Jewish Studies, Humanities, Science, and Makerspace classes. It was originally part of a collaboration and fellowship with Legacy Heritage Teacher Tech Institute @MIT that began last year and helped both teachers and students become “agents of change” in their own right!