Last week in Le Quy Don High School, located in District 3, nearly 200 tenth-graded students participated in the presentation of the project ‘Air Quality Improvement for Basement Parking Lot’, prepared by students themselves to be implemented in 2 months. The aim of this project is to increase green space to clean the air, which requires learners to make good use of theoretical knowledge from several subjects like mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, and technology.
After deep research, the project team chose the aeroponics technology, where plants are grown in vertical plastic tubes in order to boost productivity and growth speed. This technology can also save space, water, and fertilizer compared to other methods like hydroponics or geoponics.
Besides displaying a clear analysis on water and light volume for water pump and lighting system installation, students of this project conducted a market survey for product price and business plan.
According to Mr. Loi Minh Trang, supervisor of this project, via this kind of lesson, his students are able to systemize their own knowledge effectively, and then successfully apply it into the reality. This lesson type is mandatory in the upcoming revised national curriculum for secondary education.
In the end of March 2019, another project of students from this high school named ‘Heritage Road’ left the community with a strong impression. In this project, participants first took a tour to 5 renowned sites of Hoi An Ancient Town, My Son Sanctuary, the Complex of Hue Monuments, Hanoi and Ninh Binh Province to find out more about the specific cultural characteristics there. They were then divided into groups to design ao dai dress, posters, brochures, or to perform plays as illustrations for the national intangible culture. This project helped them deeply understand the richness of Vietnamese culture.
Another successful instance of project-based lessons is the project ‘For a Smoke-free Environment’ by students in class 12A8 of Nguyen An Ninh High School in District 10. It excellently surpassed hundreds of nominated projects to win the first prize in the Vietnamese Educational Forum 2019 themed ‘Innovation and Creativity Based on IT’.
Ms. Nguyen Thi Dien, supervisor of this project, shared that participants were divided into 5 groups to carry out different tasks like researching and collecting materials, designing the final product, delivering a product presentation. Playing the roles of presenters, reporters, propaganda officers, or researchers, students were better aware of their own responsibilities in observing the Law on Prevention and Control of Tobacco Harms. What is more, the project was able to equip students with necessary skills for their future career and inspire their creativity as well as family love and friendship.
As said by Principal Ha Huu Thach of Le Quy Don High School, project-based lessons did encounter various obstacles; yet the strong determination of participants led to such impressive achievements.
Mr. Nguyen Viet Dang Du, Head of the History Department in this high school, highly appreciated the seriousness and sense of responsibility among project participants. Besides proving their love for the related subjects, those students were able to show their creativity and ability to apply theoretical knowledge into reality to solve problems, which deeply impress adults.
Regardless of the effectiveness of project-based lessons, they cannot be widely applied since they require very strong foundation knowledge as well as efforts from both participants and supervisors. Hence, leading high schools in HCMC where educational levels of learners are quite high have clear advantages. However, the situation may not be that easy to schools with lower level students.
Another point is the financial issue of schools that wish to implement these lessons. They need to attract sufficient funds from parents as well as interesting businesses.