Story of PBL Transformation: Creating Eco-Friendly Busses

When I first met Hirotake Wang as a facilitator/ co- founder of Futures Academy at The International School of Beijing, I knew he was special. At 12 years old, he was already trilingual, a standout tennis player, and fiercely inquisitive. But he also yearned for more from school; desiring learning experiences that moved him outside the classroom to make an impact in the community. His final ‘Filitube’ project as a 7th grader would be the catalyst that transformed him into a community leader.

The Project: ‘Improving Air Quality in Beijing’

Driving Question: How do we use innovation to make a positive impact on the air quality in Beijing?

This project began with a provocation: ‘What’s causes Beijing’s poor air quality?’ After investigating various causes from burning fossil fuels to running factories, Hiro and his partner decided to zoom in more closely on the auto industry. Their vision was to create a filter that attached to a car’s exhaust to block harmful particles before going in the air. Using a CAD program they first envisioned the design, spoke with specific car industries to garnish feedback, and then prototyped with cardboard and school supplies.

The result: ‘The Filitube…’ and a 5 page proposal detailing the research behind it.

Did it work?

Of course not. He was 12 years old and the solution wasn’t exactly feasible. But later, he would create one that was…

The Impact

At a more mature but equally inquistiive 16 years old, Hiro would use his learning from the ‘Filitube’ project to solve a larger problem: Gross Polluting School Busses. 

With a team of like- minded peers, Hiro used his learning from the past projects to research and put together a detailed report of the environmental problems caused by bussing students to and from school. Gathering stakeholder input from students, teachers, parents and the surrounding community, he took the proposal to the leadership team to propose an alternative: Electric Busses.

The process was long and arduous. But after several rounds of feedback, his ‘Green Team’ received approval. Now, the entire bus fleet at The International School of Beijing is electric. In the process, Hiro emerged as a leader and global citizen.

Your Students’ Story of PBL Transformation Starts Here…

As we close out 2020, how will you design learning experiences that help your students emerge as more socially and emotionally informed citizens?

Join a community of practitioners and learn to design and deliver your remote PBL experience in 4 weeks.

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