Project-Based Learning at TCS Atlanta

(Left) TCS Atlanta third graders study simple machines during their project-based learning unit on Forces of Motion.
(Right) Armando and Chelsea worked together to create this simple machine.

One of the many reasons why families choose TCS, and then make the decision to stay, is our hands-on approach to learning, called project-based learning, that students and parents love. Project-based learning provides our students with opportunities to take what they’ve learned in the classrooms and apply the academic concepts to everyday life.

TCS third grade teachers brought the study of weather and forces of motion to life in a “simply” fascinating hands-on project, allowing the students to design and build simple machines with Georgia Tech engineering students.

Building on their Weather and Forces of Motion units, the students worked with partners to create prototypes for simple machines that could move relief supplies from point A to point B in the aftermath of a hurricane.

Georgia Tech engineering students helped the third graders first design blueprints and then build their simple machines using recyclable materials such as plastic bottles and paper towel rolls. The students also wrote papers explaining the different forces of motion that their simple machines used to operate.

The partner work also allowed the teachers to cater to the different learning styles in their classroom.

“We meet the children where they are and work with each child so that they ultimately shine in their own capacity,” said Dianne, one of the third grade teachers leading the project. “We were able to differentiate during the unit by creating teams of students who compliment each other. A child who is more comfortable working as a leader was paired with a child that needs support and guidance to complete assignments.”

Third grader Chelsea was amazed at how much she learned from her partner, Armando.

“Armando knew so much about sails, how they were made and how they could best work for our project,” said Chelsea.

Armando shared, “Chelsea was a great partner because she cooperated, was interested in learning and compromised on what we wanted to do.”