Project based learning ideas are an exciting teaching method that enables students to learn by working through a real life challenge until a solution is reached.
For teachers, the beauty of project based learning is that students demonstrate mastery of the skill throughout the journey of the challenge, not just at the end. Checkout a project based learning video below.
Let’s dive right into our list of 10 project based learning ideas
But first, if you are interested in giving project based learning a try this school year, here are 10 of the best project based learning ideas based on inspiration from summer teacher conferences and professional educational development programs, such as ISTE and PBL World.
Project 1. Environmental problems
This is a science project suited for high school students. The idea is to expose a local environmental problem in the area where the students live. In order to find the problems, students could talk to the community and local officials. Students would first research the problem, find out what the causes are, and then work as teams to develop potential solutions.
The next phase is to have the teams propose their ideas to leaders in the community in a public forum, where the students must defend their proposals based on collected data.
Project 2. Abstract thinking
This is a science and social studies project suited for high school students. This project requires the students to use abstract thinking, to be innovative and to employ practical solutions to complex civic issues. Students will be tasked with using engineering principles to design functional purposes for vacant lots in their community.
This project will include making 3-D models of the solution ideas. Students will need to survey the lot, research the history of the vacant lot, interview government officials and collaborate with fellow students. Final ideas will be presented to government civil engineers.
Project 3. Victims of hypothermia
This is a health and science project suited for middle school students. While this project would be ideal for schools in mountainous regions, it can be implemented in any region of the country. The first phase of the project would be for students to research and understand the causes of hypothermia and the dangers it involves.
The second phase would be to research the issues that first responders have in reaching the victims of hypothermia. The third phase would be to come up with ways for first responders to warm hypothermia victims in the field. Final ideas could be presented to the local EMT professionals in the community.
Project 4. Community service
This is a math project suited for high school students. In this project, students would need to identify a community member who is in need of a ramp in order to access their home. The project would include interviewing the community member to identify specific challenges that they face or even visit a fire station to learn about emergencies where firemen are needed.
The project would also include measuring the ramp space, understanding the necessary slope and to graph the final project. The end of the project might include presenting the idea to a community services agencies such as Habitat for Humanity.
Project 5. Alternative energy sources
This is a science project suitable for high school students. In this project, students would identify areas of the school that are energy inefficient. They would then interview HVAC professionals in the community to examine ways that energy efficiency can be improved.
They would learn how to conduct an energy audit, identify alternative energy sources that might make sense and present their ideas to school administrators for possible consideration and implementation.
Project 6. Real world drawing
This is a practical math and art project based learning idea suited for late elementary students up to high school students. The teacher and students would identify an area of the school that is need of a makeover. The students would apply math and art schools to graph scale drawings of the space.
They would then work to develop ways that would make the space look better and at the same time improve its functionality based on its intended use. The ideas would then be pitched to school administrators for possible implementation.
Project 7. Outdoor play
This physical activity project is suited for students in grades 5-6. The idea is to promote physical activity for preschool students by coming up with creative ways to encourage outdoor play. Students would be tasked with brainstorming ideas, and would use math and art skills to design outdoor play areas and parks.
As a final task, students would actively demonstrate their activity ideas with younger kids and their teachers. They would then record how well the kids interacted with each activity to gauge success of each idea.
Project 8. Hamster driving
This is a science project suited for upper elementary or middle school students. The students would use art, math and science skills to develop a terrain-accessible vehicle suitable for a hamster to operate with a hamster wheel. The finished vehicles would then be tested outdoors in a safe setting.
Videos could be made so parents and loved ones can watch online.
Project 9. Photography
This is a language arts project suited for early elementary grades and a photography project, so students will need access to cameras of some kind. One idea is to use inexpensive disposal cameras where the film is developed off-site. Another is to let kids use their cell phone cameras. In this project, students are to take photographs that tell interesting stories about their community. To prepare for the challenge, students would be instructed to interview professional photographers to learn about photographic composition.
Next, students would identify locations for their photography project that best represent their community. Students could then create a Story Map to publish images online or make a kid-friendly community travel brochure for the local visitors’ center.
Project 10. Voicing opinions
This is an English language arts project suited for seventh grade students. In this project-based learning idea, students will be tasked with voicing their opinions on why they do or do not enjoy reading. Students will need to exhibit listening and communication skills with an emphasis on not interrupting others, listening to opinions that differ from their own, and learning how to give thoughtful answers that don’t undermine the original ideas expressed. Students who love to read will be asked to share what makes reading enjoyable for them.
The project will involve creating methods and environments where students who don’t enjoy reading may learn to love it. The final results could include events such as read-alouds, library visits, or other ideas that the students come up with.
Project based learning benefits
These are all project based learning ideas that other students around the country have successfully used to engage their students an to motivate learning in a new way. One of the benefits of these project-based learning ideas is that they are easily able to be adapted to any classroom environment, no matter where in the country this school is located.
Learn about how you can obtain funding for your project based learning ideas.