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ALA Wonder Workshop PBL: A Loose Parts Showcase


On Tuesday, K-3 students of the Advanced Learning Academy were able to showcase their Wonder Workshop PBL, with this semester focusing on “A Loose Parts Showcase”. Loose parts play utilizes everyday materials and objects you already have in your classroom like beads, pipe cleaners, and wooden blocks. The ALA draws inspiration from Antoinette Portis’ book “Not a Box” that encourages creativity and (no pun intended) thinking outside the box.


Kids learn through all sorts of means, so coach Jeremiah Birmingham from the ALA, with the help of a grant from the SAISD Foundation, decided to invest in ALA students learning outside the box. When you look at something like a slide at a children’s playground, you see structure. The slide is built for one purpose, and that is to take children from the top to the bottom. But if you were to give children an object without telling them how to use it, you let their imaginations run wild.


Students have been preparing these projects/presentations in groups for months, and now they were finally able to show them off to their family and loved ones. The driving question for this semester’s PBL was simple:


How can we show others how ALA uses force, energy, and motion in loose parts play?


The PBL showcase was broken up into 2 parts: The first had students explaining their presentation to their families, and the second had them actually interacting with loose parts play to put these plans into motion.



About the Advanced Learning Academy

The Advanced Learning Academy (ALA) lifts the ceiling on learning for all members of the educational community. ALA provides 21st-century opportunities within a caring and open community and fosters a depth of thinking, problem-solving, creative design, and real-world applications. Students develop deep content knowledge and cutting-edge learning skills to prepare them for any and all futures they can envision.

The curriculum at ALA relies heavily on Project-Based Learning, which is an approach to education that emphasizes learning through creating. Projects aren’t just replacements for tests, they’re real-world creations that start their development at the very beginning of a new unit of content.


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