If you are interested in Project Based Learning, you might be wondering – where do I start? How do I find these projects?
All of the ideas in this post come from Project Based Teaching, a book that we are reading to learn more about implementing projects in our math classrooms this year. Click the link here to grab your copy – a must for any teacher’s shelf.
Make sure to scroll down to grab a “50 Ways to Use Math in the Real-World” printable!
And make sure to grab our “50 Ways to Use Math in the Real World” printable for your classroom. This printable can be used as a jumping off point for projects, classroom decoration, or a resource to answer the question, “When are we ever going to use this (math skill)?”
And we are very excited to announce that two projects will be added to All Access in time for Back to School!
The standards-aligned projects focus on content covered in the fall semester with the second project covering content in the spring semester.
Each project is flexible in nature and includes teaching slides, warm-ups, exit tickets, student recording sheets and a project overview to help you structure class time and implement project components as smoothly as possible. Here is a little sneak peak of the 7th grade project.
Where to Find Good Projects
Borrow and adapt – Don’t start from scratch, especially if this is your first rodeo. Editing and adjusting an existing project is a great place to start. Check out www.bie.org. This project library allows you to filter by subject and grade level.
- Here are more websites with existing projects:
Remodel – Evaluate previously taught units to see which unit may lend itself to being taught using a project instead. Since you are familiar with the content, you will be able to focus on the execution. Consider the units in which students weren’t as engaged; a project may be the perfect way to turn that around.
Listen and codesign with students – “Student questions offer a renewable source of project inspiration.” Consider surveying them about their interest and what they would like to learn to get their ideas. Once you have identified the problem your students want to tackle, you can incorporate the required academic standards.
Use current events – Headlines in recent events offer perfect examples of using data and statistics in favorable or unfavorable ways.
Connect to popular culture – What are your students interested in? Is there a movie, book, or video game that has captured their attention that you can capitalize on?
Respond to real requests – Does the community have needs that your students could meet using your subject matter?
Build on your passions – While students’ passions are important, so are yours! For me, I love architecture, so I always made sure to include a project on designing a home for a client and building a scaled model using what we knew about ratios and scale factor.
All Access – In each grade level, we’ve added two real-world projects (to our already amazing curriculum and videos) intended to be engaging opportunities for extension and application of skills! Each project can serve as an assessment of students’ understanding while encouraging inquiry and critical thinking amongst your students. Coming in August 2022 – so exciting!
What Makes a High Quality Project
While you are creating or editing an existing project, you may be wondering what makes a good project? What components are necessary to make sure that students are thinking through, analyzing, and solving problems?
- Challenging problem – The problem needs to grow students’ thinking muscles. Too hard and students won’t sustain; too easy and students will disengage.
- Sustained inquiry – Students “need to be asking questions, conducting research, carrying out investigations, and weighing evidence to arrive at answers.”
- Authenticity – The project must connect to the real world.
- Student voice and choice – Students are driving the learning.
- Critique and revision – Students are constantly giving and receiving (from peers and teachers) feedback to improve their project.
- Public product – Students will present their project to a public audience – an extension of the classroom. This increases the engagement of the students and the quality of the projects.
Preparing Your Resources
While you are planning projects, don’t forget to prepare and secure what is needed for students to execute successfully. Don’t forget to reserve items and spaces to keep your students engaged and excited about the project. Here is a non-comprehensive list to get your started:
- Technology – apps, software, tools
- Content Experts – mentors, panel members, clients or product users
- Connecting to other subjects – can you go cross curricular?
- Community or school resources – video cameras, science labs, art studios
Planning projects can be so fun! What projects do you want to try in your math classroom?