Projects for 10th, 11th and 12th grade

In my biology class, I’m requiring upper level students to do an additional outside project. I came across a few ideas on homesciencetools.com. I’ve fleshed them out for students here.

First, a leaf collection is a possibility. Here are options for preserving your leaves. You should preserve and label each leaf with name of tree, scientific name of tree, date and location of collection, and method of preservation. You should collect at least 25 examples of different trees (as in 25 different trees), though you may have more. I recommend putting together a journal or book of your collection.

Next, an insect collection is an option. Here is an article that gives you a good outline and many directions for collecting, preserving and displaying. You should plan to collect at least 25 different insects, identify them and label them with common name, scientific name, and date and location of collection.

Last, a rock collection might be what interests you. Here is an article that gives a good description of how to go about collecting and identifying rocks and minerals you find. Again, plan to collect at least 10 different types of rocks, label with type of rock, date and location of collection. Display as you desire.

There are so many projects that a big kid could undertake, and I think it’s worth it for big kids to take on these projects. They will learn about planning, getting supplies and following through. I suspect there will be other aspects of character formation, depending on your students general character, disposition, strengths and weaknesses. These kind of projects will help prepare your student for a more formal lab setting or field setting opportunities that will, hopefully, come along later.

I am open to other ideas, should a student have an area they are particularly interested in. Please, present those options, and lets talk about it!

Pursuing Projects

I’ve been reading a lot about “project based homeschooling” (PBH). The basic idea is that you let your child pursue topics as their interest takes them, and let them create as their interests prompt them. It fits well with ‘unschooling’, which is also all about child-led learning. The website I’m mostly working from is Project Based Homeschooling. I’m in the facebook group, also, and its been a ton of fun interacting over these ideas. I did the journalling class and the drawing class in June, and found myself quite inspired.

Of course, I’ve also realized that this is how I normally pursue my ideas. Its really bugged me in the past that I’m crazy into some topic, then the interest wains, and then I’m into another topic. But then, in talking with my Dad, we determined that I’m doomed… he’s that way, too. I have a few lasting interests, but what might be my overriding interest of the moment can vary.

Little Man hasn’t found his topic to pursue yet, unless sand + water counts (it very well might, he’s very interested in putting a ‘lake’ in his sand bin currently, and its taking some thought on how to keep the sand sides up and the water from soaking into the sand).

On the other hand, I have found my new topic: wood working. A friend who was moving gave me a fine particle compressed wood board that struck me as the perfect top to a small table for Little Man (for whom I’m considering the nickname of ‘Young Grasshopper’ — he loves jumping). This prompted me to start thinking about if I could build a table. It helps that my Dad is a carpenter, so I have a source of advice and information at my cell-phone-fingertips.

One of the things that is a big deal in PBH is journalling or documenting the project and learning. I’m still figuring out how that works. I might just use the blog…. then I don’t have to get pictures developed (if I worked in a paper journal), and its something I (sorta) already do.

All that said, here’s a bit of the woodworking that’s been going on…

designing. This challenged my math.

designing. This challenged my math.

My Dad sent me some chisels and a plane. Young Grasshopper was really excited to try them out.

My Dad sent me some chisels and a plane. Young Grasshopper was really excited to try them out.

Sometimes you just gotta jump.

Sometimes you just gotta jump.

I got him a little hammer, and he really enjoyed tapping nails into wood scraps.

I got him a little hammer, and he really enjoyed tapping nails into wood scraps.

Working. Part all cut out. Sanded. Next to cut out notches and put it all together.

Working. Parts all cut out. Sanded. Next to cut out notches and put it all together.

My first attempt at creating a 'notch'.

My first attempt at creating a ‘notch’. Not so great.

I’m actually using a design my Dad put together. He added a support piece and a different way of attaching the legs and table top.