One of the most productive summers of my entire life is quickly coming to an end, and this is marked by the fact that my internship is complete. I have to admit…I got a little emotional saying farewell to my mentor. I was entirely invested in the process from start to finish.
When I think about my time with Hyde Park Partners, I keep coming back to my time with American Engineering Group in an area they call “Genesis.” It’s basically an incubation chamber for engineering innovation. A group of interns and engineers spend their time improving upon designs in this giant warehouse, and they use a process called “Innovation Engineering.” I could instantly draw parallels between the work they do and the work I want my students to do in my classroom. I want my students to vet their ideas with true critical thought. I want my students to fail fast, fail cheap, improve, and try again. All of this is done in the Genesis area of Hyde Park Partners, and I can’t wait to tell my students that the work they are doing is truly preparing them for the world outside.
There were certain areas that I couldn’t instantly draw that same instant parallel, and that was a challenge for me at first. How could I bring the principals of industrial hydraulic motion to a 4th grade class? Then, I had an epiphany. I don’t literally have to teach students about hydraulics. I can look beyond that obvious front to the deep level of success skills that are needed for people to be successful in the field. Rather than bringing hydraulic science back to my class, I’m focusing on the skills of collaboration, problem solving, abstract thinking, and more! What previously looked like a stretch now fits seamlessly into my plans for PBL rollout.
All said and done, I think my biggest lightbulb of the whole experience is just how excited all of the employees of the company were to be a part of something. I always wanted 100% of my students to be THAT excited about school. I think PBL is the lever that can take me closer to that stage than ever before. I can’t expect them to be enthused by dull traditional lesson structures. If I can distill the energy of being a part of a project that MATTERS and also teach them core content at the same time, I’ll be achieving my vision this year.
Although I am a little sad that I’m done with my internship, I am so empowered to start the next step of my journey – polishing my project and rolling it out in the context of my 4th grade science classes this year. To infinity and beyond!