The Frankenstein Project - by Mr. Rocco Russo and his 7th grade classes
Here is an excellent example of how a teacher can create an amazing curricular experience for students that is rigorous, fun and absolutely goes beyond "marching through the standards". See how this project meets all the criteria for PBL21 . . . addressing elements of our 3 compasses to 21st century education.
When the 2010-11 school year began, Mr. Russo's language arts classes had no idea what they were in for. What was dwelling in the darkness was the most challenging educational project of their lives. The project was introduced through a secret trailer in which all of the guidelines were introduced. Students were to log on to Youtube at a specific time with their parents to see what was in store. Waiting for them was a graveyard and a teacher. The next day students began the "Frankenstein Project".
The project began with an introduction to advanced elements of literature through The War of the Worlds. After that, students dove into the original copy of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein which is considered a feat within itself for a seventh grader.
Weeks passed and the challenges continued. Six classes were then asked to take elements learned in The War of the Worlds and Frankenstein and create six original movies based on the novels.
The results have been amazing! Students have developed complex plots, characters, full-circle items, moods, and settings. Not only have the students been involved, but student's parents have allowed some of the classes to enter their actual homes to film! Some parents will be traveling an hour away to film at a very special location.
Overall, Mr.Russo has said, "in all of my years of teaching, I have never had a project in which every single one of my students have been completely engaged. I promised my students that I would give everything I had into this project and asked them for the same in return. The results have been everything and more"