Fired Up! Project-Based Learning in the Pink Cluster

Posted on Monday, October 28th, 2019

A visitor to the Pink Cluster classrooms last week would have come across quite a sight. Students filled the hallways and classrooms with energy and excitement. They had already studied the services firefighters provide and the goods firefighters use in the classroom, and had even taken a field trip to Engine 74, the local fire station. Last week, they brought all of their knowledge (and imagination) together as they spent time “trying out” to become firefighters themselves.

In social studies, the Pink Cluster learns about the concept of goods and services. Within this unit, students learn about various services provided by community helpers in the neighborhood, as well as the goods that are needed to carry out their jobs. According to Pink Cluster Head Teacher Morgan Conlon, “We define a service as ‘what others do for us’, and a good as ‘an object’.” The first community helpers the Pink Cluster explored were firefighters.

Students worked in small groups to practice completing the four jobs of a firefighter (saving people and animals, putting out fires, training, and teaching others). The teachers created four stations that represented those four jobs, using kinesthetic activities to cement what the students had learned in the classroom and on their field trip. Pink Cluster Head Teacher Megan Scanlon described the four stations: “Our students “saved” people and animals from pretend fires while navigating an obstacle course, “put out a fire” by pouring water into a bucket, and trained by exercising (e.g., jumping jacks and pushups). They also had a station where they taught their fellow classmates and teachers by using visuals of the content they had learned.”

The firefighters in Room 217, or Fire Engine 217, and Room 220, or Fire Engine 220, were awarded with individual firefighter badges in a graduation ceremony. According to Ms. Conlon, “The Pink Cluster had an absolute blast working together to bring the content we have been learning to life!” [Editor’s note: No actual blasts occurred during the teaching of this unit!]