Project Based Learning

Chartwell High School is rooted in project-based learning. Each school year is broken into four themed project periods. The theme not only dictates students’ final project, but also impacts the curricula in each class. Thus, classes have a thematic link which allows students to better understand not only the theme, but also the class content.

Project-based learning is an engaging way to learn, and it offers ample opportunities for students to clarify information and develop skills. The projects themselves consist of authentic experiences, involving active, hands-on problem solving and culminating in presentations for audiences.

Each project period involves field experiences - off campus explorations that provide information and experiential knowledge that relates to the project. Projects also allow students to practice the planning, presentation and interpersonal skills that will be so important to them in higher education and careers.

Sample Project Period: "Moral Action"

Driving Question: When is it moral to act in defiance of authority?

Students explore historical and fictional examples of moral action. They focus particularly on the play Hamlet. The project is a formal debate in which each team prepares an argument about the moral responsibility that Hamlet has for certain actions leading to the deaths of other characters. One team chose to debate about whether or not Hamlet is morally responsible for the deaths of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. The other debated Hamlet’s responsibility in Ophelia’s death.

As students prepared the debate, they learned the skill of structuring an argument and of using quotations to support their arguments. They also practiced presentation skills. History class covered the historical period in which the play is set and in which it was written. Students performed “The Fifteen Minute Hamlet” in Drama class, and our field experience for the project period was a trip to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to see a live performance of the play.