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ICJA students are focusing on problem based learning (PBL), where students learn about a subject through the experience of solving an open-ended problem, in classes across subjects this year.

Students in 10th grade Jewish history class with Mrs. Alissa Zeffren began presenting what is one of many new problem based learning (PBL) initiatives occurring in Academy classes this year.

The driving question of this PBL is “Does the truth really matter?” Each group of students was assigned an ancient artifact to study and Biblical verses that correspond to the historical context of the artifact. Students had a step-by-step packet to complete, which guided them through their analysis of two primary sources and a secondary source. Each group also had to create a replica of their artifact and include a picture or video of the replica in their PowerPoint, Google Slides, or Prezi presentation. See one group’s Prezi, from Sara Weiss, Akiva Goldman, Tzippy David, and Aviva Lakser. (Make sure you click on the time-lapsed video at the end of the Prezi to see how the replica was made by Akiva).

Students in geometry and art are collaborating on an incredible mosaic project that will be permanently displayed in the math and science hallway. Artist in residence Chris Zonta is overseeing the project that students will create every Tuesday throughout the semester. Stay tuned for more on the project next week.

The PBL projects are a result of this June’s Summer Teachers’ Institute with 10 teachers across grades and disciplines who worked together and with outside consultants on exploring all that the technology infrastructure can do for learning. These teachers planned multidisciplinary projects that focus on problem-based learning for grades, nine through eleven. Teachers who participated in the summer project are technology leaders for the school, and specifically for their departments. The summer institute was also thanks to the George Shay z”l Endowment for Excellence in Academic Arts and Sciences.

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