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4 Project-Based Learning Ideas to Use in Your Classroom

4 Project-Based Learning Ideas to Use in Your Classroom

By April Smith

Four years ago I started my first project-based learning (PBL) activity with 29 fifth graders. Since then I’ve used PBL with more than 200 students. In the last four years, I’ve learned about the process and share experiences and resources on my blog.

If you haven’t tried PBL In your classroom, get an overview from Buck Institute for Education. If you’re already using PBL, try these four ideas in your classroom.

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1. Community Projects

Look for problems or areas of excitement in your community. Work with your students to develop a driving question related to one of these community topics and use math, science and language arts skills to answer this question.

The student role is to come up with the question and your role is to connect the standards. One of the elements of PBL is “sustained inquiry,” which means you’ll be coming back to this project in different subject areas while teaching many standards within it.

2. Inquiries about History

For one project last year, my sixth graders looked back on a historical event and came up with solutions to help prevent or remedy the situation. Their topics were self-chosen and included Hurricane Katrina, the attack on Pearl Harbor and Civil War battles.

They learned about weather, engineering, chemical reactions, map-making and so much more. It incorporated a wide variety of the subject areas and helped them build critical thinking skills.

More: 7 Apps for Combining Science and SAMR

3. Build a business

My favorite project-based learning projects include building a business from the ground up. In my classrooms, we’ve built lemonade stands, candy stores and restaurants.

A lot of math is involved with creating a business. So much so, that I have fourth graders that can explain to you profit and loss while creating a well-organized floor plan for your business.

4. Home Connections

Sometimes school and home can feel like two completely different places. Show students how they can use the skills they learn in school at home by doing a project that connects to their home.

My students love to plan parties using math, reading, writing and research skills. Sometimes we even do holiday parties to incorporate the different celebrations our students have at home.

When creating your own PBL ideas, just remember one simple thing: if it’s focused on something that happens in real life, it will make a great project-based learning activity. Use this idea to come up with your own awesome ideas, by yourself or while brainstorming with your curious and excited students.

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