Learning by Doing: Example
What do the learning activities of an actual project look like? Let’s dissect a project to see how carefully planned learning activities can result in an answer to the driving question, a lot of learning and even some fun.
For this example, we’ll use the following driving question, one that addresses the topic of drug and alcohol prevention.
How can we inspire other students to avoid drugs and alcohol?
It’s a big question that calls for a big approach, so let’s zoom in on just one of the possible ways to tackle it: Students pitch ideas for the Made By Me National Commercial Challenge, which is a competition organized by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Youth ages 13-18 submit 60-second videos to share their ideas for the next Above the Influence public service announcement.
To understand the message and the activities behind Above the Influence, it may help for both youth and staff to check out the messages and multimedia on the campaign’s website and to see the idea that was selected as a winner. The arrow you see throughout the website is Above the Influence’s symbol for youth who stay “above the influence” of drugs and alcohol.
Do you get a sense of what this part of the project looks like? Good, then let’s think about the learning activities that youth undergo to complete this product as part of answering the big driving question.
Click the headers below to learn more.
1. Do Research
Students conduct online research using the resources available in Y4Y’s Drug and Alcohol Prevention Resources Page. They read background information about how drugs and alcohol affect the body and the brain, play games and solve puzzles that help them learn more, and take notes about what they are learning.
Instructors work with youth to complete some lessons from the Above the Influence Activities Toolkit to help them think through some of the ideas they are encountering. Then, the students present their findings to a small group and collaborate to draw some conclusions about drug and alcohol abuse, and addiction.
2. Conduct Interviews
Students set up appointments with peers and staff to discuss drugs and alcohol. They draft a list of questions ahead of time and practice active listening techniques before starting their interviews. During the interviews, they learn about the subjects' opinions about drugs and alcohol and hear stories about how substance abuse has affected some of their families. The students later summarize the notes they took during the interviews.
3. Consult Experts
The students participate in Drug Facts Chat Day to ask researchers any questions they have about drugs and alcohol. They prepare their questions after reviewing all of the information they have gathered so far.
4. Design and Build Something
After reviewing their notes and discussing their findings with a group, the students decide how they will show that they are “above the influence” and use their message to inspire other youth. Their instructor first guides them in determining the messages they want to get across in their Made By Me pitch.
Students work together to plan, design and create their videos. They submit their final products to Above the Influence and host a movie marathon night, when their videos are shown to their families and the community.