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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Project-Based Learning - Part II

By Andrew Loh

Project based learning always involves learning through life experiences. Most of these experiences are hands-on and practical to children. In fact, project based learning also engages children sort out individual differences and streamline their learning styles. Another beneficial aspect of this learning style is to tackle most complex situations and issues and break them into highly specific and definite action steps. All academicians recommend assigning only real world problems to children, because they can get the required motivation to work on the problem that is invaluable to their life. All children will also learn how to solve a problem in the most effective and practical way.

Two of the most important skills that children will need to learn and understand are:

  • Working as a team in a sense of perfect collaboration

  • Working in a reflective manner, so that team members can evaluate each other’s abilities and skills

Project based teaching also helps children to enhance their problem solving skills apart from improving social and presentation skills. There are other perceived benefits attached with this type of learning; it can enhance enthusiasm and excitement among children during the learning process. Interested and enthusiastic children tend to retain what they learn in their classrooms. Another significant advantage is that children can easily create and make connections between different topics, issues and subjects and later apply what they learn while solving problems.

Tip: In a project based learning setting, both teachers and parents are passive and sedentary while they can guide and mentor their children to learn lessons in the most effective manner.

In a traditional classroom, the class teacher will always know what he or she will teach in the class and what a child will learn in the class. The inputs and outcome are both very easy to predict. In fact, there are no surprises in this setting. The whole system does not allow children to explore their topics, while the classroom actually prevents the children from showing their keen interests. However, the project based learning system provides a unique opportunity for children to show their talents and skills. Children will also have plenty of opportunities to show their interest and keenness to solve their assigned problems.

In a traditional classroom setting, the teacher will know what do to at each stage of the teaching and learning process. However, project based teaching helps teachers to collect a number of tools required to enhance the learning process. In this setting, both teachers and children keep evolving their personalities, teaching and learning methods.

Children can participate in a number of projects to improve their learning such as:

  • Studies on garden flowering plants can help children to understand more about plant life and its propagation. A lengthy trip to local plant nursery will help children to write a detailed report on a number of useful topics.

  • Creating a project on playing a drama on a historical event, researching on the event and later writing a screenplay based on the event. This project will help children to learn and understand historical events in a meaningful manner.

  • Designing a creative project that involves constructing a small house for a pet, will provide an opportunity for children to use creative and analytical skills to write diagrams and images of the proposed building. It will also help children to learn how to interact with their peers to present their ideas and expressions.

  • Creating a small kitchen garden to grow vegetables will assist children to learn and understand how plants live and thrive in nature. Creating a garden will nudge children to study the biology and ecology of plants and later apply the learning to grow vegetables. It will also help them to learn designing a garden by using modern methods of horticulture.

  • Writing a series of maps of different countries and continents will help children to learn the techniques of cartography and map making. It will also help them to know the geography of the world. Children will conduct a considerable amount of research work to study about different countries and cities of the world.

  • Creating an imaginary market where people buy and sell product and services will enhance a child’s imagination and thinking skills. This assumed scene will also help children know more on people’s behavior, in what manner they buy and sell things and how they exchange money in lieu of products and services.

To enhance their learning process, children can use a number of tools like word processing software, account spreadsheets, project report databases and other sophisticated utilities. In addition, children can use the libraries in an effective manner. Internet and an array of online applications will assist them to understand how e-world works and acts. Online journals and printed magazines can enhance their skills and knowledge. Using machineries and tools will assist your children to learn the basics of mechanics and dynamics. Literary related activities will enhance vocabulary and grammar skills, while art projects can make your children proficient in visual skills.

Featured Resource

Project-Based Learning with Young Children
By Deborah Diffily and Charlotte Sassman

If your young students ask, Why are we doing that? if they wonder what school learning has to do with life outside of school, if YOU wonder how you will motivate, engage, or otherwise inspire your students to take schoolwork seriously, then read this book. Diffily and Sassman have written the most concise and straightforward book for teachers who want a clear understanding of project based learning.

This honest educational guide is written from real life classrooms. From the first day the children walk in your door, Project-Based Learning with Young Children lays the foundations for successful learning. The authors encourage teachers to start using projects a little at a time, building gradually to the long-term experience. It's a rare nuts-and-bolts type of education book, with room for individual teacher innovation. Diffily and Sassman's love for children, teaching, and projects comes through every page. Skills, critical thinking, and assessment are all here.


Featured Resource


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