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Candra McKenzie

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Examples of Projects for Students

Project-based learning (PBL) is a new teaching method centered around the belief that kids can learn better through designing, developing, and completing projects and activities instead of simply remembering and writing about the material. Projects are also a great way to get your class more interested in the material they’re currently studying, as it provides more engagement and hands-on involvement with a topic. Getting students to use what they’ve learned in a practical way is the goal!

There are plenty of other benefits that come with implementing project-based learning lesson plans, such as:

  • Promotes critical thinking
  • Very student-centered
  • Students get to use several skill sets at once
  • Flexible and easy to implement with any subject

If this introduction got you interested in project-based learning and you want to get ideas about implementing it for your own class, keep reading. Outlined below are some project-based assessment examples for various subjects, including project-based learning examples for elementary students through high school.

Project-Based Learning Ideas

Project-based learning can be extremely useful when it comes to teaching younger students. Projects are a terrific way to capture their attention since you’re combining the course material with activities, making it seem more like a fun game or social interaction rather than an assignment.

Older students also benefit from projects, as they encourage critical thinking and cross-disciplinary connections. They also help older students prepare for real-world situations where they have to collaborate with others (in college, in the workforce, etc.). Take a look at the project-based learning ideas below:

  • Plant and manage a garden to feed the homeless.
  • Illustrate the global history of civil rights.
  • Make a “day in the life” style documentary about a historical figure or era.
  • Develop a plan for surviving on a deserted island, then present it.
  • Plan and execute a holiday party in class.
  • Create a YouTube channel for the class, where each student has to make a video lesson about a topic they find interesting.
  • Do a Kids TED Talk.
  • Get your class to start a social media campaign.
  • Create a sustainability and recycling program for the classroom一how can the students become more environmentally friendly?
  • Make a nutrition guide/pamphlet. Get kids to teach each other about eating right and what foods can benefit our bodies.

The only downside to PBL activities is that they can sometimes be hard to grade. However, there are a few project-based assessment ideas that you can implement in your class. For example, get each student to evaluate their own participation in the project一what knowledge did they have to use, is there anything new they’ve learned, what they liked or didn’t like about the task. Another way to assess if the activity was a success is by getting the students to share their opinions about what their classmates did.

Furthermore, if you want to do several PBL activities throughout the year, it’s helpful to have a project-based learning lesson plan template. This will keep things organized and help you keep track of timelines, due dates, and course material.

Examples of Project-Based Learning Activities

If you work with younger children, especially between the ages of 5 and 10, it can be challenging to get them to pay attention in class and remember the material they’re supposed to learn. This is where project-based learning activities come into play. There are many interactive ideas that you can use in your class to make kids more engaged and dedicated to the learning process.

Here are some examples of project-based learning activities for kindergarten children: 

  • Create a family tree: For this one, students will have to work with their parents and take a deep dive into their family’s history. It’s a fun, family-friendly project that gives kids a chance to learn more about their ancestors and connect with their parents.
  • Grow a plant: Taking care of something alive is always a great way to teach kids about responsibility. Along with that, it gives them a way to learn about plants一how they grow, what they need to be able to grow, and how humans can nurture them. Use a tracking calendar so that each student can track their own plant’s growth and give their inputs on what they’re observing each week. 
  • Design an app: Nowadays, plenty of kid-friendly software development programs allow children to design their own video games or applications. It’s a fun way to get your class to learn about technology and programming while also tapping into their creativity and imagination.

Here’s a project-based learning lesson plan example for growing a plant:

  • Day 1: Explain the project to the students and remind them to come prepared the next day.
  • Day 2: Hand out the necessary materials and plant seeds together as a class.
  • Day 3: Have the students write down any observations and what they did that day to help their plant grow. (Ex: The dirt is dry/wet. I watered the planted seed and left the pot in the sun.)
  • Days 4 to 30: Have the students track their plant’s progress and what they did with the plant each day.
  • Day 31: Have the students look at their notes and conclude what their plants need to survive and thrive. Let them take the plants home.

Project-Based Learning Activities for English

Project-based learning activities for English can be especially beneficial for older students. Involved writing/English projects can get a class to start critically thinking about ongoing social and political issues and the literature they are currently studying.

If you’re looking for some project-based learning ideas for high school English, then check out the list below: 

  • Try the Six-Word Memoir Format: Six In Schools is a project bourne out of the Six-Word Memoir project and can be a fun and effective project for students to exercise their creativity within the restraint of just six words.
  • Get your class to analyze the news: Challenge your students to consider different news stories and think about the sources of information being used. Part of this project can include making a presentation about the characteristics of disingenuous media stories and their effect on modern-day society. 
  • Challenge students to come up with a potential solution for an environmental problem: For example,get your students to consider the climate change crisis and work in a group to develop a creative solution. Have them work on a well fleshed-out proposal for implementing this solution, and then have them present it.
  • Start a class blog: Get the class to start their own online blog, where each week, a different student has to write a piece about any topic they find interesting. 
  • Write to a famous politician: Challenge your students to pick a politician and write a letter to them. The subject matter can relate to a social or political issue that is important to them. Send the letters!
  • Create a screenplay: Divide the class into several groups and let each one write a script or screenplay in an assigned genre. The group can act it out after they have completed it.

These five project-based learning ideas for writing and English can help older students improve their writing skills and have fun while doing so. These activities will also help students learn about the guidelines for different types of writing, such as formal wiring, creative writing, critical pieces, etc.

Project-Based Learning in Science Education 

A project-based science curriculum is a great way to teach STEM subjects. Experiments are a crucial part of science, and younger students can get a head start on learning about the scientific method with the help of projects. In addition, project-based learning in science education helps students see how their learning material translates to real life. Here are some mid-level project ideas for science that you can try out with your class: 

  • Growing plants in varying conditions: This idea was already mentioned above, but applying different conditions to different plants can make this project suitable for slightly older students. You can have students make hypotheses about which plant will grow the fastest and why, and walk them through the scientific method during the different stages of the project.
  • LEGO projects: Building complex LEGO projects is a terrific way to introduce children to engineering. There are plenty of LEGO sets that give kids a chance to create complex systems such as engines.
  • Building a robot: Nowadays, there are plenty of ways to make a robot. One is through online automation programs that allow kids to create robots that mimic the actions of an actual human; another is through “build your own robot DIY kits” that guide kids as they create miniature robots.

There are near endless project-based learning examples in science because almost anything can be made into an experiment or project if you apply the scientific method. Assigning fun and fresh projects is an excellent way of getting students of all ages interested in the world of science.

Virtual Project-Based Learning Ideas

If you’re a teacher, you know first-hand how challenging it can be to teach online during the pandemic, especially if you’re dealing with younger students. Kids naturally get more easily distracted while at home, and it’s more challenging to cultivate interest in a subject through a screen. Implementing project-based activities is a must when trying to engage students in a virtual setting. They give students something to focus on and collaborate on with their peers.

Students might appreciate more social activities where they have to work in pairs or groups since being stuck at home already makes them feel isolated. Some examples of virtual project-based learning ideas include designing online tools and apps, creating fun presentations on Google Slides, using AI tools to create art and music, and sharing writing prompts/poem templates in discussion rooms.

Real Classroom Success

“I’ve used Six-Word Memoirs in my class for many years and the limitation of six words forces students to break big ideas down to smaller bites, think deeper about their stories, and unlock personal expression. In my classroom, I’ve seen kids work through writer's block; in just thirty minutes they feel like they have accomplished something.”

TERRY ASHKINOS, 7TH & 8TH GRADE TEAM LEAD
CHILDREN'S DAY SCHOOL
SAN FRANCISCO, CA

“The six-word approach was a way for my students to express themselves without writing a long narrative, one that may not speak to the reader as strongly as their Six-Word Memoir. Above all, they thought hard about their word choice, punctuation, and how they could illustrate the emotion/tone they wanted to express.”

Ginger Giessler, M.Ed & teacher
New Tech Academy
Fort Wayne, IN 

"I’ve long been enamored with the Six-Word Memoir project. I’ve read all the books, written a pile of my own Six-Word Memoirs, and sometimes do my best reflecting in six-word increments. Six-Word Memoirs are a masterful way to tell a story and was the perfect way to have our students be part of an all-school writing project. As a staff, we believed a single writing project was a wonderful way to capture the voices, stories, and reflections of all our students. When we compiled all the student writing, we had 700 student stories told — in just 4,200 words — and every child could quickly and easily read the stories of their friends and peers. I'm not sure how we could have accomplished such an admirable feat without the gift of Six-Word Memoirs."

Jennifer Schwanke
AUTHOR OF "YOU'RE THE PRINCIPAL! NOW WHAT?"
Deputy Superintendent, Dublin City Schools

The day I used Six-Word Memoirs was the day my students came alive. Finally, being free to not only write long narratives helped them to discover the essence of themselves and the heart of their writing.”

CANDRA McKenzie, HallPassBreak PODCAST Host & HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER
NEW YORK CITY, NY

Six-Word Memoirs bring out the best in my students. They are able to showcase their creativity and personal experience in a humorous, fun-loving way, but may also choose to display deeper, more complex emotions if they so choose.”

Sarah Nguyen, 6th grade English teacher
High Point Academy
Pasadena, Ca

“We often think of creativity as being open, free of rules with room to explore. But one thing that struck me when writing Six-Word Memoirs is that having strict parameters can sometimes lead to even more creative thinking!”

Paul Ackers, English teacher
Year 3 Brookes Moscow International School
Moscow, Russia

“Six-Word Memoirs is the perfect site to be ‘published’ while being creative.”

Hannia Dergongan Marohombsar, Year 8 and Year 10 First Language English teacher
National High Jakarta School of Piaget Academy
Jakarta, Indonesia

"The Six-Word Memoir is the perfect instrument for students to exercise their self-awareness in meaningful ways. Having this type of personal success on the first assignment of the school year sets the tone of the year on a positive and productive path."

Elizabeth Kennedy, 7th grade Academic Enrichment instructor
Riverwatch Middle School
Suwanee, GA

They feel liberated by having to only produce six words in a concise, poetic format. This is especially important to dyslexic students as they have experienced angst and ridicule surrounding written expression and quantity has been an encumbrance.”

Kat DeWees, teacher
Rawson Saunders School for Dyslexic Students
Austin, TX

“Six-Word Memoirs has just taught me that if you sit long enough with a kid and you ask the right questions and you challenge them in the right ways, you will hear a story that you probably never would have imagined."

Tabitha Cooper, Senior English teacher
Metamora High School
Metamora, IL

“Many students in our class shared deeply personal experiences in their Six-Word Memoirs, and sharing them helped to bring our class closer together and build a team spirit.”

Leah Ruediger, teacher
NYC’s P.S. 86
The Bronx, NY

“Six-Word Memoirs taught us a lot about our students and also taught the kids that efficiency of language can be a powerful way to make a point or share something poignant about themselves.”

JENNY PLATOW, TEACHER
ESSEX STREET ACADEMY
NEW YORK CITY, NY