Getting Started With Project-Based Learning


With the day-to-day instruction, teachers can get so caught up in the what and when of learning that we don’t have time to discuss why students should know what we’re teaching or how they can put their new knowledge to use beyond the classroom, ASCD Outstanding Young Educator Brad Kuntz writes in his monthly column.

Project-based learning—whether related to the school community, local businessess and nonprofit organizations, or global concerns—can make learning more meaningful and often inspire unmotivated students to participate in their own education and help them imagine their own futures, Kuntz says.

Project-based learning can seem overwhelming to plan, at first, so Kuntz recommends starting small—integrating real-world connections (like working with authentic data sets or using first-person interviews as a research paper source) into the work students are already doing.

From small beginnings, students will begin to see their role as active participants in creating not only their education, but also the world around them.

What advice do you have for getting started with project-based learning?


  1. The independent school where I work used project based learning as the base for what each student does. Each student studies a topic of interest & the teacher(s) build the curriculum around that. Best first advice I have is start with each student’s interest.

  2. We are using project-based learning at my elementary school. We are focusing on starting with a question and defining, as a school, on what true student collaboration looks like. We are working on creating a school wide rubric and encouraging teachers to observe each other.

  3. How do you go about getting elementary students involved in project-based learning. I think it sounds like a great idea and while I was reading, thought can this work in elementary school? What types of projects would they work on?


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