Identify factors that influence individuals to behave in specific ways, and analyse ways in which others can influence individuals to behave differently.
Project-based learning to explore an issue relating to prejudice, discrimination, bullying and the negative influences of media
To use a Project Based Learning (PBL) approach to investigate research questions relating to prejudice, discrimination, bullying and the negative influence of media.
Students work in small groups to undertake an in-depth inquiry into one question relating to prejudice, discrimination, bullying and negative influences of media, and create, compose or produce a product for an authentic audience.
This detailed example draws on the principles of PBL developed by the Buck Institute for Education (http://bie.org/about).
A PBL approach begins with an open-ended question, which is ideally provocative and engaging so that it captures students’ interest. Students investigate this question and brainstorm possible solutions, learning relevant content during the process. They then apply their learning in creative ways to produce, demonstrate or perform something, advocate for a policy or solution, or teach something to others, practising their communication skills in the process.
Each student-centred project is broken down into three main stages, which can overlap in time frame:
Overall four questions relating to prejudice, discrimination, bullying and negative influences of the media are required for investigation. Teachers may provide these questions or develop these questions in conjunction with their students.
A manageable way to tackle this task may be:
- determine the four questions to be investigated as a class
- student groups to share their groups’ learning with their class peers
- students to complete a ‘compare and contrast matrix’ for the four selected issues that addresses the following categories: factors that influence the behaviour involved, individual and community stakeholders involved, effect on individual and group behaviour, possible products and/or solutions.
Assessment can include self- and peer-assessment questionnaires and a compare and contrast matrix. In this way the contribution of each student within any group is accounted for.
Approximate time frames are proposed for each stage.
Teachers should identify and inform students of the relevant key science skills embedded in the task.
- Students may need assistance in deconstructing the investigation question.
- Students should be able to develop and administer surveys. This may have previously been covered in class, or teachers may use this problem-based learning activity to develop these skills. Teachers should check survey items to ensure their appropriateness prior to the survey being publicly distributed. Teachers should work with students to:
Teachers could also discuss the necessary skills required to work well in a group, including perseverance and a positive attitude.
- identify the style of items in their survey that will best answer the research question (for example Likert-type scales, dichotomous or ordinal questions)
- develop items to be included in the survey that will best answer the research question
- develop standardised procedures under which the survey will be administered
- take into account relevant ethical principles including informed consent, voluntary participation, withdrawal rights, confidentiality and debriefing
- determine the number of survey respondents required (for example, five respondents per student).
Health and safety notes:
There are no specific health and safety concerns associated with this activity.
Stage 1: inquire/discover/research
Lesson 1 plus some out-of-class time. Students:
- Choose an investigation question (IQ) that interests them personally – ideally they make their personal interest in it explicit by recording initial ideas in the logbook.
- Form teams of three to four people with some interest in the same IQ. The teacher may facilitate this.
- As a team, brainstorm what they do know and do not know about the problem/investigation question. What specific questions do they need to investigate further? Each student should keep evidence of the process in their logbooks.
- Consider how the IQ affects different people and places – research, identify and describe relevant individuals, stakeholders and community groups. What specific questions do they need to investigate further? Students need to keep evidence of the process in the logbooks and also keep a record of where they sourced the information in case they need to return to it later.
Lesson 2 plus some out-of-class time. Students:
- Review the selected IQ and reframe/rewrite it if necessary to include specific parameters (such as particular places, stakeholders, countries etc.).
- Nominate valid sources, such as agencies, organisations or professionals in the field, who might be able to supply information to help them answer the specific questions they identified that require further investigation.
- Collect as much information as possible on the IQ by dividing up these tasks to individuals within their group. Remember to agree on a timeline for completion. This might include using methods such as: online/library research; surveys; interviews; photo and video documentation; experimental data; and meeting with a variety of experts with different viewpoints. As students research, it is critical they collect sufficient information that allows them to explain arguments for and against different stakeholders’ points of view. Each student should keep and share a careful log of their research – dates, times, sources, observations, summaries etc.
Lesson 3. Students:
- As a group analyse the evidence collated during their field studies and create charts, graphs and other visual representations to understand their findings.
Stage 2: create/compose/produce
Lesson 4 plus some out-of-class time. Students:
- Based on their research, ask what specific product/solution they would like to create that addresses the IQ. Their task is to make public a strong, convincing argument to a real/authentic audience. Does the group want to design a website, plan a community event, improve an existing project/program, initiate an action-oriented campaign, make a persuasive presentation to relevant stakeholders? Or something else?
- Identify all the steps required to make this stage happen.
- Make contact with their real/authentic audience and present to them a very brief description of the intended product/solution and the rationales for the inquiry into the IQ. Students keep evidence of their contact in the logbooks.
Lesson 5 plus some out of class time. Students:
- Create the product/solution and collect evidence of the process.
Stage 3: present/share/promote
Lesson 6 plus some out of class time. Students:
- Present the product/solution to class peers for initial review. The randomly selected class peers will complete an assessment questionnaire (based on criteria in a provided assessment rubric). Complete self- and team peer-assessment questionnaires.
- Deliver the product/solution to the real/authentic audience. Collect evidence of the process. Randomly selected audience members complete assessment questionnaires.
Students complete a written ‘compare and contrast matrix’ for the selected question that addresses the following categories: factors that influence the behaviour involved, individual and community stakeholders involved, effect on individual and group behaviour, possible products and/or solutions.