Project-based learning uses real-world projects that are personally meaningful to motivate students. In a recent study, project-based learning students outperformed traditionally taught students by 10 percentage points. See what this learning method can do for your classroom with these 5 project-based learning ideas.
Start small to win big
Adapting to any teaching method is often easier when you start small and work your way up to a larger scale. For example, consider developing a project that takes about two- to three-weeks rather than a full eight-week project. Teachers can test the waters of project-based learning without feeling overwhelmed.
Help simplify initial projects by limiting the number of topic choices given to students. With focus on a single subject, you set your class up for success that will carry over into more complex future projects. Celebrate small successes with classroom giveaways, such as retro sunglasses, color changing tumblers or glow bracelets.
Don’t start from scratch
Take advantage of existing resources to help build your first project. This can help you save time, gain insights and learn from others’ experiences. Seek out teachers who have experience in project-based learning for advice or observe their classrooms first-hand. You can also check out project libraries for ideas. Consider adapting an existing project to meet your class’s skill level, goals and subject.
Get to know your students
Project-based learning is built around each student’s personalized goals and ideas. Get to know your students to help them define their interests, challenges and aspirations. Offer a variety of paper masks and hats to help young students express themselves or a spiral notebook for older students to make notes about what they’d like to share. This can help build relationships between students and prepare them to collaborate on future projects.
Create a project-based learning area
Creativity and resources play a big role in project-based learning. Having supplies in your classroom can be helpful to students who may not have these items at home. Spark creativity with classroom giveaways, like colored pencils or fine point markers, and encourage organization with two-pocket presentation folders. Don’t forget the tech! Provide internet access and other resources so there are no barriers for students who may not otherwise have access.
Learn from hindsight
Hindsight can be one of the best teachers when it comes to a new learning method. Look back at what went well and which areas need improvement to gain insights for your next project. Be sure to:
- Take notes throughout the project to reflect on them later
- Gather feedback from students
- Identify sources of struggles within the project
- Make a list of resources or methods that worked well
You’re prepped for the project
With these project-based learning ideas, you can dive into this teaching method with confidence. Watch your students thrive and grow through meaningful, real-world projects.