Updated: Apr 6, 2021
The pandemic has brought its share of many challenges, however, we continue to be amazed at what teachers are doing to keep their students engaged virtually. PEF STEM Fellow and Westview Elementary second grade teacher, Haley Graham, is finding ways to tie her students’ learning back to the community through problem-based learning.
Graham’s students were presented with the driving question "How can we, as zoologists at the Chattanooga Zoo, create an exhibit for an animal?" Students began this PBL by researching the Chattanooga Zoo, then deciding what animal would make a great addition there. Students subsequently conducted research on the animal they chose. Throughout this PBL, they learned about the animal’s life cycle, food chain, and its habitat.
Her students created persuasive animal reports, dioramas, clay models, and directed drawings. “I wanted to get my virtual students active, so I reached out to the Chattanooga Zoo and they happily put my students’ work on display in November,” shared Graham. By having their work showcased, Graham and her students are hopeful that the zoo will consider some of their suggested animal additions in the future.
We love to see community collaborations throughout our district continue to grow and foster, especially during this year’s many obstacles. Thank you to Haley Graham for sharing her PBL story with us and to the Chattanooga Zoo for promoting local Hamilton County Schools students and their work!
*Photos contributed by Haley Graham.