As someone who has been a teacher for a couple of years, lesson planning is time consuming.
I would spend hours cruising through Pinterest boards, looking for ideas and inspiration for different projects to perfect my teaching practice.
Project based learning is about getting rid of the old, and bringing in the new. That’s the approach it takes to transition your teaching style from one that focuses on “doing projects” to project based learning.
Project based learning isn’t something that you can perfect in a matter of days or weeks. It’s a journey of learning and teaching that will take years to master.
It’s an experience that allows you to learn and grow with your students as you put it into practice–the earlier you begin, the easier it’ll get.
In this guide, we’ll look at project based learning examples to help you inspire and excite your students.
Table of Contents
- What is project based learning?
- Building bridges with list infographics
- Writing to a Congressman with a letterhead template
- Starting a business with a business plan template
- Writing a blog post to display your learning
- Comparing a movie and book with a presentation
- Creating a fundraising campaign for an issue you care about
- Creating a family tree with a tree diagram
- Planning a community event with an event poster template
- Helping local businesses increase environmental impact with flyers
- Using a tracking calendar to monitors your plant growth
1. What is project based learning?
Simply put, project based learning is a teaching method that allows students to gain knowledge by requiring them to work for an extended period of time to investigate a complex problem or question.
Students are given the freedom and opportunity to explore real world problems and develop a deeper and more enriched understanding.
At Venngage, we’re committed to providing educators with the project based learning templates to supplement their teaching, to make education more fun and accessible.
We understand the amount of work it takes to plan a simple lesson, let alone an entire project. That’s why we’ve gathered together some great ideas to make your teaching experience easier.
In this blog, you will not only get a comprehensive understanding of what project learning is, but you will be able to begin implementing it in your classroom immediately – using many of our templates and examples.
In this guide, we’ll look at project based learning examples to help you inspire and excite your students.
What are the important elements of project based learning?
1. Significant content
This is where you outline learning goals. Looking at your standards and referring to them frequently is helpful. You don’t need to stress yourself and fit every learning standard, but enough to ensure you’re meeting some of them.
2. A need to know
Creating a “hook” for the introduction of a project is important to get your students interested and engaged. Its purpose is to generate the curiosity of the classroom. It could be in the form of a video, a guest speaker, or a lively discussion. The driving questions should be abstract enough to get your students wanting more.
3. Driving question
This is the question that your students will be working towards answering with in-depth inquiry. It should have a sense of challenge and purpose. Every activity will work towards the answers to this question. The question should be complex enough that it cannot be answered with one google search.
4. Voice and choice by students
This is the fun part of the planning for students. Ownership comes into play in this stage of their project based learning because they get to set their own learning paths. Below we outline many project based learning examples such as brochures, infographics, tree diagrams and more that allow students to choose what medium they would like to display their information in.
To spark your curiosity, here are some project based learning examples your students can use to display their learning:
5. 21st century skills
Use of technology, collaboration, creativity, communication, and critical thinking are all 21st century skills that authentic tasks should require.
6. In depth inquiry and innovation
Students will be spending the most of their time working on this stage. This is where they will be finding answers to the many questions that will evolve as they conduct their research. They will be using websites, books, articles, and videos to dive deep into the subject they’re exploring. All this gathered information will be used to create their product.
7. Reflection and revision
At this stage, students will use rubrics, exemplars, peer editing, and feedback from their teacher to create high quality work. It’s an ongoing process that is a great way to self reflect on the process and drives students to continue improving.
8. Public presentation
Time to show off all the hard work that students put into their projects in a public setting! It doesn’t have to be just to classmates, it can be to larger audiences including parents, experts, or a larger community. Public also doesn’t have to be in front of a live audience, it could be online as well. Students can brainstorm what they see best fit in terms of how they would like to present their own projects.
Other important elements to consider in project based learning:
- Does this project require innovation and critical thinking skills?
- Does this project include information, media, and technological skills?
- Does this project involve life and career skills?
What are the benefits of project based learning?
- Engagement: Students are more likely to be engaged in their schooling when they feel autonomy over their own learning. Project based learning allows students to be drivers of their own learning.
- Teach and assess multiple skills: Teachers have multiple assessment opportunities to test different skills.
- Differentiation: Students with various learning styles and differences are accommodated since PBL showcases a broad range of capabilities.
- Accountability: Students take greater responsibility for their own learning.
Is project based learning effective?
Project based learning has been proven to be effective in the classroom. Many reports globally have been published encouraging educators to use the project based learning approach to deepen and enrich their student learning.
“One of the major advantages of project work is that it makes school more like real life. It’s an in-depth investigation of a real-world topic worthy of children’s attention and effort.”- Education researcher Sylvia Chard
The benefits of project based learning are endless. It allows for authentic assessment, promotes lifelong learning, and prepares students to develop skills for a highly technological society. Project based learning allows students to learn by doing–from language, to data science, to history.
What are some examples of project based learning?
We know that teaching is a skill that requires a lot of planning and that people underestimate the amount of time it takes to create a thorough lesson plan, let alone an entire in depth project.
The project based learning examples below will help to bring creativity in the way that your students present their information. Your students can use the templates for their projects, or you can use the templates for your teaching.
2. Building bridges with list infographics
Building bridges is a great project that allows teachers to implement all aspects of S.T.E.M. It requires a lot of problem solving skills and builds on competitive learning skills as well. Using a lesson plan template to create your criteria helps to keep your work organized:
List infographics are a great way to make things easy to remember in a creative way. Certain projects may require a long list of materials from your students, such as this bridge project. In order to keep track of their materials and keep students organized, a list is integral.
Below are 2 great example of list infographics:
3. Writing to a Congressman with a letterhead template
A good project based learning example is one that can incorporate many different aspects of learning. Not only does this project based example develop writing skills, it takes learners beyond that.
By writing to a congressman students are moving beyond just writing a letter about their research and moving them towards taking action about it by expressing their opinions about an issue they care about. It encourages students to be agents of change by using their civic voice with elected officials.
Below are great letterhead examples that can be customized to incorporate colour, a border, and a header. Your students will feel like professionals as they’re creating their letters. It could be powerful enough to get their letters noticed and read, with a possible response!
Below are a couple of great examples to get you started:
Professional blue letterhead template
Creative letterhead template
4. Develop a business plan
This project based learning example allows students to work in groups to develop a business plan.
Beginning with developing a concept, then doing market research and competitor analysis and ending off with a financial plan. These templates have outlines and examples prepared so that students don’t feel so overwhelmed and can pitch their ideas with ease and confidence.
The business plan templates below will ensure that any business plan created by students looks professional and inspiring. It may even lead to coming to life!
Here’s a business plan template your students can use:
5. Write a blog post to share your learning
Blog posts are great creative ideas for students to take ownership of their own learning in an expressive way. Instead of writing a traditional essay, a blog post will display the same information but with a kick. Blog posts are also a good asset to include for their portfolios, to help improve their personal brand.
You don’t need to worry about having to do all the research on how to write a blog post and what to avoid. Sharing an infographic with your students that outlines the steps of how to create a blog post will help them understand the success criteria of their projects.
When you visualize information, it’s harder to miss important information. Everything is in front of you and is easy to read.
Below are two infographics that explain how to write a blog and what mistakes to avoid that can be easily share with your students:
6. Compare a movie and book with a presentation
Comparing a book to its movie adaptation is a fun project that incorporates a lot of learning skills. Reading, writing, analysis, with a touch of entertainment as well. The ideas are endless in the different tasks that could be done, what makes it easy is to display all the information by creating a presentation.
The examples below include important elements to creating a great presentation design. Some of these include:
- Using text size, weight, and color for emphasis
- Including less texts and including only important information
- Emphasizing key points with text and images
Creative presentation template
Whimsical presentation template
7. Create a fundraising campaign for an issue you care about
Another great project based learning example is creating a fundraising campaign. Students again have an opportunity to be agents of change for an issue that they genuinely care about.
Here is an example of how students can use a timeline infographic template to plan a fundraiser:
Once students have completed their planning, they can use a poster design to create an event which outlines all the details of their campaign.
Important elements of a poster include:
- Considering the target audience
- Including a clear call to action
- Using icons and visuals to improve the poster design
Fundraising poster template
8. Create a family tree with a tree diagram
A good real world question is: how does your family ancestry make you a unique person? Students will have to dive deep into their family history to answer that question. One of the outcomes may be that they create a family tree to trace back who was a part of their lineage.
Using a family tree template helps eliminate disorganization and helps students stay focused. After designing their family tree, students can easily share it with their family members online!
Below are examples of family tree diagram templates students can use:
9. Plan a community event
Planning a community event takes a lot of work. Students have an opportunity to create change in their communities and take action. After doing the research in terms of food, theme, and decorations – students can create a proposal demonstrating how the event may look and cost.
The end result of the planning would be creating the actual event poster. Students can make their planning into reality and be the change makers in their community.
Some poster design tips:
- Leave plenty of white space on your poster
- Keep your poster design simple and professional
- Optimize your poster for social media to reach a bigger audience
To get started, here are some event poster templates:
10. Help businesses decrease environmental impact with flyers
The best projects are those that include multiple subjects in one.
Students can create digital flyers to inform businesses about ways to decrease their environmental impact by “going green”. They can share it with companies that are known to not be environmentally conscious. This is a great way of culminating their research.
Below are some great examples of flyer templates that students can customize into their own by changing colors, fonts, and the text.
11. Use a tracking calendar to monitor your plant growth
Students can learn all about plant by observing their growth patterns. They could learn about parts of the plant, what plants need to grow, and the functions of the plant.
Students can track the progress of their plant growth by inputting their observations into each day of the week:
Outcomes of PBL
A well designed project based learning experience will have great outcomes.
Here is a great visual outlining all the different positive outcomes of project based learning:
Get started with project based learning in your classroom so that you can develop critical skills for your students. If you’ve already started and are just looking for more ideas and tools, this guide is also great for you. Whatever your teaching needs may be, your students will appreciate accessing so many of the template examples.