An elementary school student has shown interest in researching fashion. Then, she started an individual work with exploration and survey of free data, developing research and increasing knowledge about the subject. The result? With guidance from the tutor, she made a paper doll and various clothes – based on her previous study. The case is one of the examples of individual projects we encourage at Lumiar.
Even while valuing the collective learning process, we understand the importance of developing individual projects. In elementary school mainly (but also in the final years of early childhood education), we provide moments for students to produce, construct, and seek knowledge in an autonomous and individual way. Different from a collective construction, the individual projects prioritize studies in which the student can develop and discourse on topics of his interest.
Individual projects in senior year of elementary school are similar to the final projects developed by students before graduation in college. The research can be assembled as a monograph and it should include: methods used, data and analysis. Just as in college, there is also a mentor (who can be a mentor or tutor), who helps find the direction of the project.
Collective activities play a key role in individual projects. Often, students fall in love with a theme in a group work and deepen the knowledge gained in individual projects. In the last two months, the F2 students at Lumiar São Paulo worked on a project called “The Infrared” with the objective of constructing or deepening the concept of similarity and understanding some optical phenomena (mathematical and physical contents). In this process, a student fell in love with photography and in the following semester he did an individual project on the subject.
In addition to the introspective moment of studying alone, individual projects also foster the interest of students, who can nurture knowledge about the subjects they love. In this way, they feel more motivated for the whole.
Choice of theme
As we said above, the theme needs and should be of interest to the student himself. Sometimes, the project may involve a discipline or competence that the student already likes or has dominance. Older students need, in addition to setting a theme, to choose a problem. Example: In love with marine animals, the student defines a theme. The tutor helps him focus more on this study and suggests the topic “marine invertebrates.” As a problem, the student suggests a research comparing human intelligence with that of an octopus.
The topic has already been selected? Then it is time to encourage the student to raise hypotheses. Students from elementary school can make more structured hypotheses
Survey of sources for data collection
To support the research, it is necessary to make an analysis of primary and secondary sources. Primary sources are information that does not yet exist. That is: the student must collect. This means: exits to the field, interviews, questionnaires … Secondary sources are studies of books, monographs, documentaries and so on. These need to bring with them a thoughtful analysis of what has been found.
Data is nothing if not interpreted. Therefore, tutors assist the students (depending on the age) so that they can understand what was collected, aiming to answer the problem presented in the definition of the theme.
Development and sharing results
After research, data and interpretation, the student develops the final product, which may have different formats. Then, presents this product to the group or school announcement through mini-seminars, posters and etc.
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