Student Voice and Project-Based Learning

Malcolm Price Laboratory School, Cedar Falls, Iowa

The 2010 Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award winner, Malcolm Price Laboratory School, in Cedar Falls, Iowa, has a long-standing tradition of focusing on the whole child. Price Lab believes that its community is not so much a place as an experience of feeling valued, connected, and responsible.

Among other efforts, the K–12 school actively seeks to engage students through programs that support project-based learning. Students in elementary, middle, and high school devise or choose projects of personal interest—examples include hosting a radio show, investigating string theory, producing a film production, and developing a game. The students then see these projects through from conception to completion.

This student-centered approach has been fundamental in developing important 21st century skills, such as demonstrating initiative and self-direction, and using individual talents for productive outcomes. It has also allowed students to have a greater voice and develop a greater sense of ownership in the school and its activities.

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