Authentic Learning at Roby Elementary

Roby Elementary School's 4th-grade students embarked on an educational journey that went beyond traditional classroom boundaries, blending compassion with curiosity through an Authentic Learning initiative centered around the humane treatment of animals. This innovative approach was sparked by our reading of "The One and Only Ivan" and evolved into an in-depth exploration of animals in captivity, comparing natural habitats to man-made enclosures such as zoos and circuses.

The project challenged students to answer the question: How might we, as habitat specialists, redesign or reimagine humane treatment of animals? Engaging in this authentic inquiry, our students dove deep into research on natural habitats, consulted with experts, and analyzed current animal enclosures and transport, alongside other practices of zoos and circuses. This comprehensive exploration was not confined to theory; a field trip to the zoo in February provided firsthand insights, enhancing the students’ understanding and empathy towards animal welfare.

The initiative was further enriched by a visit to the circus, courtesy of tickets gifted by the Shriners, allowing students and staff to witness the conditions of animals in such settings. This experience served as a vital comparison point, aiding in students’ mission to conceptualize more humane enclosures for their chosen animals. Integrating this authentic learning project with reading, writing, math, and content standards, Roby Elementary presented a holistic learning experience that resonated with all students.

Superintendent Dr. Jesse Bacon shared his enthusiasm for the project, stating, "This initiative at Roby Elementary perfectly exemplifies the transformative power of Authentic Learning. By tackling real-world problems and fostering a deep sense of empathy, our students are not only enhancing their academic skills but also developing into compassionate, critical thinkers. It's experiences like these that allow our students to exhibit components from our Graduate Profile, which will help ensure they are prepared for the complexities of the world beyond the classroom."

Dr. Hannah Scott, Principal of Roby Elementary, also expressed her pride in the project's impact, "Our 4th graders are showing incredible engagement and empathy through this experience. Witnessing their passion and dedication to reimagining the treatment of animals in captivity is truly inspiring. This project is a testament to the power of education to foster not just knowledge, but kindness and innovation among our students."

Bullitt County Public Schools' commitment to Authentic Learning, supported by PBL Works, highlights the district's dedication to providing an education that is not only academically rigorous but also deeply relevant and engaging. By addressing genuine, complex issues, students are empowered to take ownership of their learning, developing essential skills for the 21st century in the process.

As the project progresses, Roby looks forward to sharing the outcomes of their students' efforts to reimagine animal habitats. This initiative stands as a prime example of Authentic Learning’s potential to cultivate empathy, creativity, and a commitment to making a positive impact in the world.

Keep an eye out on the BCPS website and social media platforms for even more examples of how these types of Authentic Learning experiences are continuing to take shape in BCPS!