According to the Buck Institute for Education, the leading resource for Project Based Learning, projects should be launched with entry events. “Rather than to simply announce a project, we can generate interest by creating a special event that takes our class out of their routine, and lets them know something special is about to happen.” Entry events engage and promote students to ask questions and are an integral part of Project Based Learning in our Kindergarten classroom.
We begin each new project with an entry event which generate interest, engagement, and motivation for the upcoming study. The entry event is often one of my favorite parts of a project, and that is certainly the case with our Iditarod project. To launch the Iditarod project, our little mushers received a special delivery of sled dogs. They were asked to take on the task of adopting, loving, and training the dogs for the Iditarod race.
As soon as students had their puppies, they began asking questions. They had questions about the puppies, the project, and the Iditarod; all of which are now guiding our study as well as helping our kindergartners remain curious. This particular project had a triple entry event as guest speakers Meredith Mapes an Iditarod musher and Robert Forto from Team Ineka Mushing came to speak to our Kindergarteners about the race. Ms. Mapes and Mr. Forto brought dogs and gave very informative presentations. The students had an opportunity to wear mushing coats and reenact an Iditarod race with a real sled and an Alaskan Husky!
These entry events did their job perfectly. Students are now authentically and genuinely engaged in our Iditarod project; asking questions, wanting to know more, and caring for their sled dogs!