In this project I have put my students into nine groups of four. Each group is working on a separate problem:
- The Athenian democracy
- A comparison between Athens and Sparta
- The development of the Roman empire
- The decline and fall of the Roman empire
- Alexander the great
Before we started this group work, I had my students decide on how to cooperate. Each group made rules on how to work and on responsibilities. These rules were written down and each student had to sign. I think this is a constructive way to start working on project such as these. Although we have just started the school year, a committing contract on the rules of cooperation can make each student understand his or her responsibility and, in the long run, more learning will be the result.
My students were asked the follwing questions:
- How are we going to cooperate?
- What are we going to do if the project comes to a halt?
- How are we going to divide the workload amongst ourselves?
- What is the main goal for this group work (for us)?
Each group had 15 minutes to write down their answer to these questions. All groups did this and I think this may have laid the foundation for a good result.
The project will be evaluated informally; with constructive feedback from me, their teacher. (Later on, they will have a written test).