Project-based Learning

Project based learning is a method where students use inquiry and knowledge building in the classroom, working together to solve a problem. There are many benefits to project based learning. First, it allows students to have more ownership and influence over their learning when they are allowed more freedom over the direction their learning takes. Second, it employs a variety of techniques for learning, to better engage many learning styles and therefore more students. Third, it teaches students the benefits of group work, and allows the students to push themselves further together than a teacher could alone. Finally, it is more possible to have project based learning be interdisciplinary, hitting many standards from many different subjects within one project, and allowing students to see the real world applications of what they are learning.

There are many resources online that have ideas for projects for all grade levels, as well as ideas for how to create your own project. Some of these resources are listed below. As there are certain topics which students will need direct instruction on rather than project based learning, the first part of each day will be devoted to “standard” curriculum teaching, in which students will be organized by age to learn basic skills. The other part of the day will be devoted to project based learning, in which students are able to apply and further explore what they have been learning. Certain projects will be age specific, while others will also span ages, allowing for more interaction between our older and younger students. Projects will be based on several larger themes, and will incorporate multiple subjects into each project, allowing students to more easily apply what they are learning to the real world. Our new teaching staff will have the opportunity to take a professional development course on how to implement project based learning into the classroom, and, depending on time, possibly visit some classrooms where this method is already in use.

There are several online projects where students have the added element of interacting with technology and contributing to a project larger than just their own classroom. Projects such as these accomplish many of the tasks mentioned previously, as well as developing valuable skills for navigating the internet and using technology. Projects such as these also help students to gain a broader world view, in realizing that there are students all over the world working on similar projects, and comparing their own findings with findings of these students from all over the world. An example of a website that contains these types of projects is the CIESE website:

Lesson Planet: The Search Engine for Teachers
Search for lesson plans by grade, general or specific subject, or type of lesson. Also has other valuable resources for teachers like worksheets, information on standards, lesson plan creator, etc.

Project Based Learning, Davidson County Schools
This website has ideas for projects that are grade specific, as well as whole-school projects.

Project Approach
Discusses the theory behind project based learning, explains how to implement in your classroom, and has sample projects to be used in the classroom.