Mr Kemp NZ

My latest PBL success in Mathematics

After the overwhelming success of my last blog post about PBL (Problem Based Learning) in my Mathematics classroom, and the example of the board game creation, I thought I would continue to share my examples as I teach them.

The latest PBL activity I have been using with my Year 6 Mathematics classroom is based on the following elements of learning:
·         Multiplication of 2 digit numbers
·         Dividing 2 digit numbers
·         Addition, Subtraction and Multiplication of decimal numbers
·         Converting metric units of measurement
·         Area of composite rectangles
·         Using Scale
After learning about all of these topics, and developing a confident understanding of them all, the students were set a problem, based on designing a Safari Park.

The problem was: “The Safari Park board has asked you to help establish an animal friendly Safari park”. A five hectare wildlife reserve has been set aside for Hippos, Elephants, Lions, Tortoises and Giraffes.

Before starting off on the investigation, we ran Google Hangout sessions with 2 experts. One expert was an aunty of a student at school in Australia who works as a manager at Melbourne Zoo and the second expert was a designer who worked on the design and creation of Singapore Zoo’s new River Safari attraction. The students asked excellent questions and discovered a lot of relevant information that made this task ‘real’ and ‘relevant’. Some amazing discussions came about because of these global connections and got students thinking about things like, what would happen if the Elephant had a calf, or the safari park decided to introduce a new animal. The students decided that these elements had to be considered (i.e. leave free space / make enclosures larger than required).

The requirements of this task were to (included in the rubric I provided for them):
  • Submit a design for the safari park showing:
    • The total mass of the animals in each enclosure
    • The space allocated to each animal enclosure
    • How much food they receive each week
    • The amount of time the animal carers will spend with the animals during feeding time
  • Show all details on a map of the safari park to convince the ‘Safari Park board’ that the animals will be cared for humanely
  • Decide how many of each animal to include in the space provided and choose facilities and features and calculate the total area required (a list was given to the students that included the required details)
  • Create a daily feeding schedule (based on information provided)
  • Present map and feeding schedule and compare / discuss accuracy of calculations etc.

Students were not given any requirements on how to present their learning (as I do for most activities) so there was a variety of presentations, including some video’s, scratch games and minecraft ‘parks’.

Here are some example of the students creating, making and designing as part of their PBL investigation:



Here are some examples of final designs and information provided:


Another highly successful and engaging session of learning in my Year 6 Mathematics classroom. The students love to be engaged in real world learning activities. My next project is in development stages but will be based around probability, causes of bias and line graphs. I have some exciting things lined up for this, so watch this space.

About author View all posts Author website

Craig Kemp

Craig Kemp

I am a passionate Global EdTech Consultant based in Singapore but working with Schools and EdTech companies all over the world. I am a lifelong learner, dream creator and thought leader. I love to inspire others and find inspiration. Co-founder of #whatisschool, #asiaED edchats and #pubPD.

Have something to say?

9 CommentsLeave a comment

Leave a Reply to Maureen Devlin Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...