Would you rather read about a science experiment or resolve the hypothesis yourself? Even better, wouldn't you like to create a hypothesis that helps solve why you get sunburned, but your brother doesn't? That would be a project that would actually impact you personally. Project-based learning is an educational technique where students are faced with a problem or challenge and work individually or collaboratively to resolve it. According to the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, proper project-based learning should include seven vital components:
- A need to know: This first step in creating project-based learning addresses the "Why are we doing this?" question from the start. It encourages to start with the WHY and then lead into the material that will be explored.
- A driving question: Students develop a driving question as a roadmap for the entire project, and it should engage the students to develop how they would like to proceed (with the guidance of the teacher).
- Student voice and choice: In this step, students are encouraged to select from several available options on how to address the driving question. It could include a video, a poster, an essay, or anything else the teacher can dream up.
- 21st Century skills: The teacher would help the students in each step-including collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and the use of technology to increase communication and creativity.
- Inquiry and innovation: As students continue developing their project, they will fine-tune their questions and develop their ideas.
- Feedback and revision: As in a real job, students have the opportunity to correct things as they go along with their teacher by meeting periodically to ass progress.
- A publicly presented project: Publicly presenting their work helps build confidence and presentation skills that are easily transferable to their future career lives!
Project-Based Learning is integrated into numerous curricular activities at TCCS; however, one of the biggest is a senior exhibition! Students complete a project and present it to business and community members. The students receive direct feedback for their projects and presentation skills: feedback that they can later apply to their future interviews and presentations as they enter college and beyond.
Project-based learning not only helps the students create a measurable product, but build skills that they will use no matter where they head after graduation.