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Project Busters

Creating additional after-school programs for middle-school students with a simpler learning process (“playing the whole game at a junior level”… David Perkins) but still focuses on building a learning team, problem solving and life-skills.  This allows a series of steps (level of course work) in the learning process based on the student’s desire.

Our goal is to get young students excited about learning using mind tools (Engineering mind-set) by solving community problems while working in a team environment.

Take out the students creating the problem to be solved and giving them a focus problem.  


Flowchart: Alternate Process: Focused-Simplified 
Tailored to the organization 
Starter projects
Flowchart: Alternate Process: Present Teams- Problem solving

Curved Down Arrow: Feedback

Flowchart: Alternate Process: Focused-Simplified 
Tailored to the organization 
Starter projects
Flowchart: Alternate Process: Present Teams- Problem solving

Curved Down Arrow: Feedback

Flowchart: Alternate Process: Focused-Simplified 
Tailored to the organization 
Starter projects
Product Overview:   Needs of learning Life-Skills/Soft-skills


Life-skills transition to business
Culture of Readiness-CCR
The real skill gap
Skills to make you more employable
Need for program-engineering mind-set








Get students excited about learning (life-long learners).

Have the reasoning skills to manage in today’s society and begin to build a set of skills to use in multiple careers.

Understand that problems are opportunities.  The bigger the problem, the bigger the opportunity.

Have students better prepared for college or a career.


Global Drivers: 


Overview Presentation:


Engineering Mind-set (Thought concept for the program )




 Program (PBL)

Overall review document File
Thinking skills & Emotional skills File
 Good review of PBL elements File

          Detail project Plans 

The basic project for the students:

The learning can be broken into four major parts

After each part, the students will do exercises around What skills did i use; Do a reflection about what they learned, what could have been better and other thoughts




Adding    Competition & Awards (using script funds)



Student Engagement Discussion


  • Do you want to learn Life-Skills?


  • Can you take ownership of your learning?
 Ice Breaker ...   Marshmallow project (Begin our thoughts on the problem to be solved)

Brain Plasticity (Mindset)

Breaking the Ice with strengths


After doing the Ice-breaker assignment, Discuss the program goals, Their thoughts and discussion.
What are the life-skills they think are important moving forward in college or career. Create a list
Have the same teams that did the ice-breaker, take the assignment to work on:
  • How are we going to mange our project by developing our assessment rules
  • How are going to work together (interpersonal)
  • How are we going to manage the classroom with the students doing the management( who, what roles, how )


2.0 Forming teams and setting community values, norms

Flip learning page


2.5 Skills Introduction

Where to infuse life-Skills

3.0 Problem solving process...  Project Cards

Flip:  Problem-Solving


4.0 Public reporting and feedback


·   ``


Project data:

 Overview slides  
Schedule overview

Approximately 10 one hour sessions

Role of the facilitator


Emphasis on building learning skills by facilitating meta-cognitive questions during the process

The definition of facilitate is "to make easy" or "ease a process." What a facilitator does is plan, guide, provide feedback and manage a group event to ensure that the group's objectives are met effectively, with clear thinking, good participation and full buy-in from everyone who is involved.

Tenets of the organization File
Outcomes & Uniqueness's File
Day plans

Daily feedback sheets


General feedback sheet

Day1 Day 2

T,  IS,


P, F, S,

B, T

Day 4


Day 5

S,   D

Day 6 Day 7  
Simple projects that can be accomplished as a group while learning skills



Tools/Quick notes:

Web site for links to Life-Skills descriptions Link
People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.

   Vince Lombardi


Processes Activities
One-pager Conflict resolution
Discussion Team charter work sheet
Flow-map Team roles work sheet
Five principles Listening skills
  Like a sports team
  Team work sheet



Team members questions to themselves What do I bring to the team? 2. What are our commitments to one another? 3. What differences exist between us? 4. How will we operate? 5. How will we know we are succeeding?
Learning life skills & having fun


The art or act of improvising, or of  composing, uttering, executing, or arranging  anything without previous preparation:





Improv File
Assessment/Rubrics File
Questions & learning File
Project framing File
Picking the problem File
Planning & schedule File  Getting set-up to do the project
Elevator pitch File    Short presentation of key items that you did
Mapping File   Information gathering plus how they are connected
Learning Process File

Brain Plasticity


Thinking skills

Creative thinking

Critical thinking
Meta-cognitive thinking
Reflection (feedback)


File  Maintain the state of doubt and to carry on systematic and protracted inquiry --- these are the essentials of thinking



Learning targets File Learning targets are short term goals or statements
Self-Reflection of the project File
Benefits of the process File
Preparing for the presentation check-sheet File
Scamper File   Coming up with ways to find new ideas
Links from home page of Project Academy


the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual

  Web-version 3

Interesting web sites;

Did you know? Today's learners will have 10-14 jobs by the age of 38
TED talk Ken Robinson
TED talk Benefits of self-directed learning ... Motivation
TED talk Carol Dweck     ...Your Mindset
New Tech Network At New Tech Network, our partnerships with schools drive everything we do. Together we are transforming teaching and learning around the country. Our shared vision for student success – college and career readiness for all students – has a very specific meaning in the Network. 

21st Century Learning


TED talk Tony Robins .. What shapes you; You define who you are; Need rituals to make things happen.
MIT- Solving World Problems

Solve at MIT:

An annual flagship two-day meeting on MIT’s campus. A small number of challenges are explored in small-group interactive sessions focused on a single challenge, moderated by experts who can facilitate the problem-solving process. 

Next Solve at MIT: Spring 2017 


Ghana think tank Ghana ThinkTank’s innovative approach to public art reveals blind spots between otherwise disconnected cultures, challenges assumptions about who is “needy,” and turns the idea of expertise on its head by asking people in the “third world” to solve problems of people in the “first world.” This process helps people overcome their own stereotypes while being exposed to the stereotypes that other cultures have about them.
Talking together Getting young people to come together

Democracy is a Conversation

Service learning To create a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world with young people, their schools, and their communities through service-learning

Creating contemporary learning environments from EDtalks on Vimeo.

Problems as opportunity  

SEL Discussion



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