Seymour Papert says’ constructivism puts the students in a position where they will use their learning’ (edutopia, 2010). I totally agree on that. Students when engaged to constructivist projects, they are energised, focused and challenged. And this leads them to understand the subject matter better.
I remember the day that I was so frustrated working on my technical drawing project in college. My professor showed us how to draw the cross section of a house. I asked a couple of questions, tried to get it from my peers, nothing worked. I went back to my dorm room and buried my head in books, still nothing. I gave my family a call that night complaining about how difficult it was that day. My dad who was an architect told me to go t the supermarket and buy a slab of cheese and experiment the concept by cutting it into different sizes and shapes and record my findings. Then he said when I felt ready draw the cross-sections. You know what? It worked so well, I had A for all my drawings that semester.
And knowing this in first hand that freely experimenting and constructing knowledge leads us to effective learning, I encourage my students to do so. The projects that I lead are all based on inquiry based and they support constructivism. After playing in the nearby pond, all students get the idea of a tadpole. Catching a tadpole and keeping it in the classroom and observing it everyday, they construct their learning on our current unit of inquiry ‘cycles’. They can tell you about their hypothesis and through their observations they have their conclusions and this leads to them learning effectively. When you ask these students 20 years later, they will remember the day they spent by the pond and how they took it back to school, named it and it turned out to be a frog.
Edutopia, 2010. retrieved from: http://www.edutopia.org/project-based-learning-overview on May 27,2010.