Growing up as a child I always remember loving making projects. I would collect all kinds of materials thinking of all the projects I could create with them. The whole planning and step-by-step process seemed so exciting, knowing that later you would see what you had imagined come to life.
Project making is a popular learning activity with students. Generally most students enjoy making and creating different kinds of projects. I have found that flexible groupings work well with project making. It can be done in groups, pairs or even independently. Project making can be a social and interactive type of learning. Students learn to negotiate with others as they share their ideas throughout the process.
Sometimes group projects we do with our students in the classroom can be viewed by others as fun art and craft activities. Drawing, coloring pictures, cutting materials, and putting things together I believe it is more than an art and craft activity. It is a process that involves organizational skills, social skills, problem solving and time management skills to name a few.
How can we effectively use project making to access students’ ideas, interest, skills and knowledge?
What makes a good project?
Gary Stager has spent the past twenty-six years as an internationally recognized educator, speaker, and consultant. In his article, What Makes a Good Project he quotes,
“Projects are what students remember long after the bell rings. Great teachers know that their highest calling is to make memories” (p. 21).
Stager (p. 20) also includes the eight elements of a good project which are
- Purpose and Relevance
The Umbrella Project
Two weeks into our Weather inquiry, I noticed that the students were not as enthusiastic as I’d hoped. To jumpstart their enthusiasm, I decided to put an old umbrella on a table next to my desk without saying anything… just hoping that one of my students would notice it….
….And that they did… And so our Umbrella Project was born!