How do you use projects within the classroom?
Projects can enhance the curriculum that you teach, encourage logical thinking skills and promote cross-curricular links. Pupils work in a similar style to how they would in the workplace, collaborating with their peers and supporting one another.
This blog posts explores the reasons why you should use projects within the classroom with some practical tips on how to make them successful.
1. Projects stretch and challenge pupils
Evaluating, analysing and creating are all higher order thinking skills. If the project is created with these skills in mind your pupils will be stretched and challenged within the classroom. Projects also allow the teacher to be a facilitator of learning which creates a cohort of independent learners and allows you to act as a mentor or guide.
Practical Tip: Give verbal feedback little and often during the project – challenge their thought process and encourage them to evaluate their project as they go.
2. Projects enhance learning across the curriculum
A Dragon’s Den style project is a perfect example where pupils have to use different skills from across the curricular. When pupils are learning about satellites in Science, pupils design their own viable satellite based on their learning in the previous lessons. They have to select materials (Design Technology), calculate costings (Maths) and create a script for their presentation (English). Using projects like these not only uses skills within the subject that you are teaching but allows pupils to apply knowledge from other subjects.
Practical Tip: Could you team up with their English or Maths teacher? For example, if your project is centred around a debate could you could use same criteria and language that the English department uses?
3. Projects encourage teamwork
Teamwork skills are critical for success both in the workplace and at higher educational institutes. Allowing the pupils to work in a group over a series of lessons encourages collaboration and allows pupils to work on their communication skills.
Practical Tip: Giving tasks for each of member of the group to complete ensures that all pupils contribute to the project. Typically I give pupils a success criteria and they have to initial who completes that part of the project as they go along. When rotating around the classroom I can easily see if all are contributing to the project.
4. Projects enhance presentation skills
Not only is speaking an assessed part of GCSE English, but presenting is an important skill which all pupils should have. We model good presentation skills every day within our classroom but pupils need to be encouraged to create a script, practise their presentation and be reminded about good use of ICT.
Practical Tip: Support pupils to create a structure for their presentation by providing “slide headings”. This can allow pupils to create a presentation with a logical order yet give the students freedom to include their own thoughts and ideas.
5. Projects allow for good use of technology
Whether it is using PowerPoint, Keynote or a Prezi; pupils must be able to use technology to present information clearly. Pupils learn by doing and the more often they use these programmes, the more fluent they become at using them. Allowing pupils to choose how they present their project will create more ownership of the task and will ultimately increase engagement.
Practical Tip: Use the collaborate function on PowerPoint to have more than one pupil to work on the presentation at the same time.
How do you use projects in the classroom? Please leave a comment below to share ideas!