7 Examples of Project-Based Learning Activities
Even if you have never heard about all the research showing the effectiveness of project-based learning, it’s not hard to figure out that it is a far more engaging way to learn than through traditional methods. What’s not to love about engaging with a real-life problem or question and applying content knowledge and connections to various disciplines to solve it?
If you’re stuck for ideas, here are a few great ones to get you started.
- Shrinking potato chip bags in the microwave. Students can learn about polymers through hands-on activities using some of their favorite products, like shoes and sporting equipment. As a culminating activity, they can put a wrapper from their favorite chips or candy bar into the microwave for five seconds to learn about how polymers return to their natural state when exposed to the heat.
- Design an app. Students love using the newest apps and games, so take it to the next level by having them design their own! With Apple developer tools, kids can learn how to create an app or online game. They can learn about technology and problem-solving skills while engaged in what they love.
- Student farm. Students will learn lessons about science, social studies, math, and economics through planting their own organic farm. They can begin by researching the crops they want, figure out what kind of care is needed, and then use a budget to determine what materials they must purchase. They can even sell food from their farm to contribute to a cause or fundraiser.
- Geocaching. If you’re not able to take your students off-campus to engage in some real-life “geocaching,” you can always create your own geocaching treasure hunt for them. It can incorporate all kinds of skills and knowledge: geography, math, and even essay writing.
- Research project: negativity in the media. Begin with a discussion about what “media” is, and bring in examples. Talk about what each kind of media (newspapers, music, news sites, etc.) is used for. Move on to examples of the messages conveyed by certain types of media, and how this message is articulated. Then assign groups to create their own “media” (a website, a newspaper article, a commercial, etc.). Have each group work on generating a message (positive vs. negative).
- Write to your Congressman. Ask groups of students to identify problems in their community. They must then do research to come up with information about this problem and come up with an “action plan.” Assign students to write to their government representatives with their facts and their action plan.
- Bridge building. Students begin by studying the engineering of bridge building, comparing the construction of famous bridges such as the Golden Gate Bridge or Tower Bridge in London. Then they work in teams to construct bridges out of Popsicle sticks. The challenge is to get their bridge to hold five pounds (for younger students) or twenty pounds (for more advanced students).
Adapt any of these projects to your class or curriculum, and watch your students become inspired.