Mason City middle school looks to rethink problem solving

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(ABC 6 News) – Students at John Adams middle school in In Mason City are taking advantage of a new way to learn.

During the school district’s study session, two teachers from John Adams presented finished projects from the school’s project-based learning program.

PBL is a type of learning that differs from a traditional learning environment.

Instead of a standardized test, students are given a problem, then it’s up to them to investigate and find resources to create a solution to solve the problem.

At John Adams, they decided to use art and industrial tech to solve problems in their school.

“The solution always involved a public product. So something that is seen and visible in our school. So they know that their work is going to be seen which i believe gives them a little added pressure to really do an amazing job and they have,” said John Adams Art teacher Anne Hansen.

Some of the projects in the program’s first year include signs to direct traffic on the stairs and hall, a community bench as well as other fun activities and games for other students to enjoy.

Both Hansen and Kingston believe PBL will be able to not only succeed in the classroom but give them something they can take with them for life after middle school.

“I think empowering students to make their mark and empowering them to solve their problems give them a different kind of motivation than maybe a typical classroom,” Hansen explained

John Adams has finished one semester of their PBL program but the district is hoping to expand the program to the high school and Lincoln Intermediate school.