Hands-on activities are one of the best ways for students to learn in the STEM classroom, and research has shown that project-based learning is an approach that boosts student engagement in addition to giving them a positive “making” experience. Adding project-based learning into your classroom will be fun and effective for students, and the tips discussed in this post can ensure that your activities go smoothly.
Use the 5E Model to Your Benefit
The 5E model, a method of problem solving that boosts student engagement by combining new information with what students already know, is considered effective in the classroom. Often this model is utilized in conjunction with project-based learning because they work so well together. Via a series of steps, students are guided through their project in a systematic way to help them get the most from the learning experience. The 5e model includes the following steps: engage, explore, explain, elaborate and evaluate
Make Collaboration a Priority
Another effective way to incorporate project-based learning is to divide students into separate groups to complete a task. This not only produces a better project by having multiple minds pursuing creative ideas, but it also provides students with an invaluable skill they’ll use well beyond their academic years: teamwork. Working as a group and discussing concepts of the project aloud also encourages students to fully grasp their material, making it an important element of project-based learning and academic success.
Make the Projects Meaningful
Finally, the design and goals of the project is very important to how successful project-based learning will be in your classroom. Discuss project ideas with other educators to perfect your project design and keep your material up-to-date. One important area to focus on in making the project meaningful to students is workforce development and specific career skills. The more projects relate to the real world, the higher the likelihood that students will find the experience valuable.
The most important thing to remember with project-based learning is that there will always be ways to improve the project and adapt it for following years. So, dive in! The possibilities for project-based learning are endless.
For specifics about how to implement project-based learning in your classroom, check out Incorporating Project-Based Learning in STEM Classrooms. For more information about the 5E model and how to use it, check out Using the 5E Model in STEM Instruction.