Do you remember the old-fashioned traditional schooling system where history was history, geography was geography and science was science? Every subject was separated into its own box and no link between them was encouraged.
Homeschooling is a perfect learning environment to break away from static, segregated lessons into a culture of integrated discovery linked to the world around us. Some of the benefits of Project Based-Learning is that it brings authenticity and interaction to lessons. Each lesson is easily connected to a variety of subjects in the world outside of the classroom, and students are encouraged to develop an inquiring mind through collaboration and communication as they approach the topic at hand.
In this article, we will explore some Project-Based Learning ideas to help children learn cross-subject concepts in a fun and interactive way.
What is Project-Based Learning?
Project-Based Learning provides an opportunity to help kids build knowledge and skills through engaging activities and projects. These activities are usually set up around events, challenges and problems they may face in the real world. Project-Based Learning allows students the opportunity to gain knowledge on a variety of topics and subjects in one activity.
Project-Based Learning ideas for primary school kids
Let’s start off with a project for younger kids… Show the kids a picture of your national flag or any other flag that might be symbolic of your heritage or travels. Discuss the colours and designs of the national flags. Help them understand that the colours and emblems are not randomly selected but rather stem from the country's history, culture, climate or religion.
Do some online research to help explain the symbolism of the flag. Research the economic activities in the country (agriculture, mining, manufacturing, tourism) and identify any relationships between these activities and the physical environment of the country (climate, terrain etc.).
Investigate any noteworthy people from the country (sport, politics, science, medicine etc.) and discuss their achievements. How did these achievements shape the political or social landscapes of the country?
Now for the fun part! On a piece of paper get the kids to design their own flag to symbolise their family or their community.
Project-Based Learning ideas for secondary school kids
Complete the same exercise above. After researching the economic activities and people of influence in a country, the students can research some of the socio-economic challenges the country faces and present a project on how these could be resolved.
Some of these possible challenges can include the following:
- High unemployment and low incomes
- Rural to Urban migration
- High crime rate
- Poor standards of education
- Informal settlements and poor sanitation
Possible STEM activities to address the above challenges can include:
- Building a shoebox home using trash and household waste
- Research ways to make education more accessible to poorer communities
- Create a learning garden
Project Based Learning ideas for high school kids
Once the kids have completed both the exercises above, allow them to explore the effect of immigration in their country. Allow them to interview an immigrant or a person who has a job with an immigrant society. Get them to research and write an article on people who have moved away from their home country.
They could ask the immigrants the following questions:
- What were your reasons for immigrating?
- What was the visa process involved?
- How did you choose a school overseas?
- What are some of the notable cultural differences you have experienced?
Easy Project-Based Learning Ideas
Here are a few more easy Project-Based Learning activities you can do with your kids at home.
- Environmental project: In today’s times, there are environmental issues everywhere. Ask your kids to dive into an environmental project. Start by investigating environmental issues in your home country. Then study local people or organisations who campaign for the environment. Get your child to make a public announcement or poster to teach their community about a specific environmental problem that they have identified.
- Create a meal plan: Get your kids to ask each member of the family about their favourite meal. Then get them to design a menu for the week to ensure everyone’s choice is included at least once. Investigate what ingredients are required to cook the meals, and create a shopping list and budget. Get your child to help prepare the meals and lay the table for the family. The child can create a poster advertising the daily meal and this could be displayed in the kitchen or dining room.
The possibilities and benefits of Project Based Learning activities are endless. The internet provides a plethora of easy-to-follow lesson ideas that can help trigger your inspiration. Make learning fun and engaging for kids by thinking out of the box and encouraging your kids to do the same!