By: Kathy Lohse

 *This is part two of a six part series exploring Projects with Purpose. Find part one here. 

How might we realistically take action and create a positive change at Borton?

The Shooting Stars (a second grade classroom) and I got excited about Evanee’s idea for a 100 heart sculpture because it is very much connected to something she was passionate about, art. The idea was intriguing, because the process of getting the sculpture made would introduce the design thinking process to the students. Both Sheila and I are passionate about Project Based Learning for our students but had never done this type of project before. We both wanted to empower Evanee to be creative, develop leadership skills,  and activate the community to get behind one idea.

How did we create a collective vision? First, we asked Evanee and the group of students who worked with her on the behavior over time graph to share their ideas with the class. From there, The Shooting Stars were asked to actively listen and share their feedback. The students were intrigued with the design challenge itself – most had never built a larger structure. They also shared about their love of working with clay and the idea of demonstrating the kindness of Borton. 

Using the student feedback we created a driving question together: How can we as the Shooting Star Room class work together to create Evanee’s Sculpture? This question anchored the project and gave The Shooting Stars a shared purpose

In order to move forward in pursuit of our purpose, we needed to understand our collective vision for the sculpture. Students were asked to plan and build a five-heart sculpture out of cardboard, paper hearts and pipe cleaners. We then sorted the models and came up with the basic design components of the sculpture. The components of the final sculpture were that it had to have a long base, it needed to be tall, and it had to have arches. The students then worked with first partners and then small groups to create plans A, B and C with increasing numbers of hearts. Then we set out to understand how to bring our vision to life. Wondering what comes next? Find out in part three.


  • I like… I wish… What if… – Have students and community members fill in these statement starters to give feedback. Ask folks to give responses out loud or in writing.

About the Educators:

Kathy Lohse is the PBL Coordinator at Borton Magnet School. Sheila Encinas is the teacher in The Shooting Star room. Borton Magnet School, in Tucson, Arizona, prioritizes Project-Based Learning and Systems Thinking.

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