Project Based Learning and the Unless Contest

Project-Based Learning (PBL) includes an open-ended challenge, mastery and application of content, individual accountability paired with cooperative interdependence, and an authentic audience. On Tuesday 2/14, Erin Loch’s 2nd period Environmental Science class took an important step in their PBL as they traveled to the Philadelphia Zoo to present their progress thus far in the Albert M. Greenfield Foundation Unless Contest.   Their challenge is to find a local water problem, find a solution and fix it.  The class has chosen to take on two challenges!   They are working towards installing a water bottle filling station at UDHS in order to reduce single-use water bottles and restoring a buffer zone at the Loch Alsh Reservoir in order to reduce pollutants from entering the water.  To assist in their work, the students are also leveraging the expertise of the High School librarian Mary Jane Lyons, Robbins Park program director Lisa Fantini, and Upper Dublin Public Library emerging technology coordinator Molly Kane.


The students had already pitched their ideas, been granted permission by the school and township, and have now begun work to implement their plans.  While at the zoo, they were given a tour, a special lesson on the golden lion tamarin and the opportunity to present their project thus far. The pitch was a huge success and now the real work begins. Using the library MakerSpace as their headquarters, the team has already taken on 3D design to create props for the presentation and stencils for their shirts, the button maker to give out reminders of their purpose and Breakoutedu as a method of team-building and interactive presentation (many thanks to the Upper Dublin Education Foundation for supporting the MakerSpace). The “Golden 13” has already raised $200 toward their goal of $2000 and they have only just begun. Look for water bottle sales as well as other fundraisers soon.