PBL with Google: What Does Going Green Really Mean?

Adam Fragale
Curriculum Specialist
Blog on January 25 2022

Any teacher working in a hybrid model classroom these past couple of years may have noticed a serious reduction in filing needs. When cleaning for the summer at the end of 2021, many teachers realized that their file cabinets, which would usually be filled to the brim with papers, were virtually empty!  The paperwork accumulated after a full school year was a fraction of what it had been in prior years. How did this happen?  

As we all know, schools began using learning management systems (LMS) like Google Classroom in a much bigger way in 2020. Although many schools had previously been using some sort of digital LMS, they were never used to the capacity that would eventually be needed when schools went remote. We will discuss the benefits of Google Workspace and Classroom in a minute, but an unexpected benefit to using the online platform was the noticeably immense cut back on paper and time spent in the copy room!  Save the trees and go green!

The idea:

 This revelation sparked an idea to use in the classroom the following school year: a project-based learning activity designed to have the students work collaboratively on solving an essential question: What does going green really mean?

PBL, as it is usually known to educators, allows students to engage in real world, meaningful projects. “Going green” is not only a world issue, but something that students can relate to as it pertains to their schools, communities, and even their own family, making it a personal project. By using Google tools to complete each part of the project, the teacher can model “going green” while students are researching and creating a project on the topic!

How it works:

Utilizing Google Workspace applications, you can push this project out to all of your students without having to print a single worksheet.  Students will receive instructions, tasks, and guidance through Google Classroom. They can do their research utilizing Google Search, collaborate and communicate with each other through the creation of documents within Google Drive, and share Docs they create as they brainstorm ideas.  With a few instructions and some guiding questions along the way, the bulk of the work can be placed into the hands of the students.  This allows you to become the “guide on the side.” This project is something that will spark creativity and allow for more in-depth research.

The end result should be a compilation of electronic files, created by the students, that can be presented to the class, school, and local community and should display the students’ solutions for what more can be done to “go green.” Options for final student projects include Google Slides presentations, Google Sites, or even community interaction projects via Blogger.

PBL encourages and promotes communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity.  In this instance, students will discover what it means to say that they’re going green. You may miss the copy room. On second thought, probably not. Mother Earth thanks you in advance. For more information on how to implement a PBL activity in your class check out our PBL section including courses like Intro to Project-Based Learning and Project Based Learning with Google. Have a great PBL idea or a question? Join the conversation in the comments below. Share your classroom success stories with us at otispd@teachingthings.com.

For more tips, tricks, and tools for teaching in and out of the classroom, check out more articles on the Teq Talk blog.

We also offer virtual professional development, training, and remote learning support for educators with OTIS for educators. Explore the technology, tools, and strategies that can spark student success — no matter where teaching or learning are happening.

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