Monday, October 14, 2013

PBL Unit Overview (Mandarin, Technology, & Art Collaboration)

BIE visited our school for a PBL workshop. We learned how to create a PBL unit that incorporated multiple subjects. The following information describes the unit we developed.

General Info

  • Name of Project: Chinese Paper-Cutting
  • Subjects: Technology, Mandarin, Art
  • Grade level: 2nd grade

Driving Questions

Overall DQ:
  • How do we, as Chinese culture experts, convince 1st grade students to join the Chinese Paper-Cutting club?
Technology DQ:
  • How do we, as Chinese culture experts, use the similarities and differences of ancient Chinese paper-cutting to modern methods of paper-cutting.

Project Idea

Students will take on the role of Chinese culture experts, whose goal is to convince 1st grade students to join their Chinese Paper-Cutting club. They will be divided into groups based on their academic level or character traits. In Chinese class, students will need to research the history of the cultural tradition and the meaning behind the artistic expression. In technology class, students will compare and contrast the ancient Chinese method of paper-cutting to the modern technology-enhanced method of paper-cutting. They will learn how technology has transformed this specific tradition. Finally, in art class, students will learn the appropriate skills in creating their own paper-cutting works of art. The culminating product will be an online slide presentation that includes these components:
  • history of papercutting
  • meanings of different patterns
  • compare and contrast ancient and modern papercutting
  • examples of papercutting art pieces
Here is an example of what the product might look like:
Screen Shot 2013-10-15 at 8.29.15 AM
After completing their online presentations, the students will present their work to their Chinese instructor. The instructor will use rubrics to provide students with feedback to improve their slides, as well as their presentation skills. After making their corrections, the students will present their product to a 1st grade class.
The students will be evaluated based on teamworkcritical thinking, and creativity.   

Presentation Audience

The presentation audience will be the 1st grade students. They will observe the presentation and participate in a short paper-cutting activity. Based on the presentation, they will decide if they would like to join the Chinese paper-cutting club.

Entry Event

The Chinese instructor will introduce the unit by providing the students with this predicament:
“Okay class, I have a big problem. I am planning to start a Chinese Paper-Cutting club for 1st grade, but I am afraid that I will not have many students wanting to join. Because of paper-cutting is beautiful and decorative form of art, many different cultures have embraced it with their own styles. So I am asking you (2nd graders) to please help me share this amazing form of art with the 1st graders, to convince them to join my club! You will take on the role of Chinese culture experts and present a short demonstration to a 1st grade class. ”
Then the instructor would provide a presentation that included images and videos of beautiful elaborate paper-cutting examples to the students. The instructor would also provide them with physical examples to give them a better understanding of what tradition they will need to be an expert on.


  • Outline
  • Practice presentation
  • Concept map
  • Oral presentation
  • Online slide presentation
Reflection Method:
  • Focus groups

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