Over the past couple of years, the Oregon Conference Office of Education has challenged its teachers to provide every learner in the conference the opportunity to have a project-based learning (PBL) experience at some point during each school year. When John and Tanya McCombs moved to the Lincoln City (Ore.) Seventh-day Adventist School from another conference, they eagerly embraced the opportunity.
For their PBL activity in the spring quarter each lower-grade student chose a product to create, market and sell at the school’s Educational Open House. These enterprising first through third graders learned product planning, marketing plan development and positive sales techniques.
The upper grades explored STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) projects. Each fourth through eighth grade student picked a science experiment of interest, researched it and brought their findings along with a demonstration of the experiment to the Educational Open House. Attended by school families, church members and the community at large, the evening was a huge success and resulted in several possible new students for the coming school year.
The McCombs have generated a buzz of excitement around the Lincoln City school with John’s interest in practical applications for technology and Tanya’s training as a reading specialist and fine arts educator. John has made connections within the community that have resulted in donors providing the funds to purchase 30 iPads, two 3D printers and a laser engraver. Tanya’s students have shown remarkable growth in reading levels, while John’s students have devoted many hours learning design software and collaborating together to use technology to bring their digital creations to life.
Although it’s only a small school in a small town, the Lincoln City SDA School is poised to make a significant impact within the local educational community because of the leadership and determination of two dedicated Adventist educators.