At a Glance
Students in the masonry program at Lehigh Career & Technical Institute (LCTI) participated in a project based learning activity to deepen their understanding of various arch styles and to hone their research and presentation skills.
The LCTI masonry instructor implemented a project based learning activity on arch styles for students to complete with a partner. He designed the project so students could apply what they knew about arch styles in a relevant and engaging manner and also practice essential collaboration and communication skills.
For the project, students developed a proposal and related presentation for the city zoning board on the type of arch they would install for a new exposition center. The instructions to students for the Arch Partner Poster Project stated:
You and your partner are masonry construction company owners. You will be presenting a proposal to a city zoning board on the type of masonry arch you plan to install on the new Exposition Center being constructed next summer if you are awarded the job. The city zoning board is not familiar with arch construction so they would like your input on the subject. This opportunity might be the step you need to be awarded to project next summer. As a part of your presentation you will make a poster showing the zoning board your recommendation for an arch of your choice, its layout, its parts and explaining the terminology used for arch construction.
Students needed to create a masonry construction company, research arch styles, design a poster for their proposal and present to a zoning board comprised of underclassmen and instructors. The project incorporated multiple tasks from the Masonry POS. To help students organize their research and plan out and track the project requirements, the instructor provided students with a checklist of the learning activities they needed to complete for the project and the estimated time allotted for each activity. He signed off on each activity as students completed it. The instructor also gave students a presentation rating sheet for them to evaluate and assess their classmates presentations.
The instructor found the project challenged and engaged students. He plans to use it again. He hopes to invite more faculty members, such as the principal or executive director, to sit in on the presentation and he may move the presentations to a conference room to create a more formal feel.
The project based learning activity on arch styles provided many benefits for students. One, it gave them the opportunity to collaborate with partners to research content related to their field of study. Two, they gained experience working with others to create a final product (the poster) and structure their presentation. Finally, the students experienced what it is like to present their ideas to an audience, simulating what they will do in the industry.
Garrett Tweed, Masonry Instructor