Nani Kalakau | Marketing Coordinator
During a time where distance learning is in full effect, it can be difficult to adjust lesson plans and incorporate compelling content that students will find useful. Especially when collaborating remotely, it is important to balance the curriculum with relevant topics where open-ended questions and ideas can be explored. Project-based learning is a helpful strategy that can involve students of any age to develop their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Here’s a list of ideas from K-12 that can be implemented in distance learning lessons and encourage your students to factor in real-life scenarios and think outside of the box. These are high-level concepts that can be quick lessons or expanded into several weeks’ worth of projects!
Kindergarten to third grade
- Play an age-appropriate music video and ask your students to pay attention to what makes them the most curious. Afterward, everyone will take turns sharing and asking questions. Students will get their minds moving and the curiosity will start flowing!
- Pick characters in a popular show that everyone knows about. Form groups to represent that character and ask each group to introduce their character to the class and what important role they play in the show. Students should elaborate on character traits and analyze the character like a person. This will also help students to work in groups and how to listen to each other.
Fourth grade to sixth grade
- Have students pick a small business to create. They’ll each have to find something they’re interested in but also useful during current times. This open-ended project can be used in multiple areas of subjects from math lessons and financial planning to geography and analyzing which location is best for their company and explaining why. Let’s remember that Jamba Juice was created similarly so the sky is the limit!
- Form groups of students to create different types of museums. They’ll have to work together to come up with a concept and the subjects that will be featured in their museum. Students can make a museum specifically about butterflies or the history of technology, the options are endless!
Seventh grade to eight grade
- Design an app for a specific niche and purpose. This can be done as a class or individually. Students can explore any concept that the app can be utilized in everyday activities. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at all the creative ideas!
- Create a class project to help the local community live a more sustainable lifestyle. Students can plan a community garden for local consumption, organized trash cleanups, and more. This would be a great segment to dive into how to individually live a more sustainable lifestyle and the little habits that can be made in everyday activities.
Freshman to seniors
- Have the class create a mashup of apps that currently exist and combine into one. This will encourage students to take the important aspects of a tool they already use and think critically about how to enhance this already helpful feature. This idea doesn’t need to be limited to only apps but a mashup of businesses and brands too.
- Design an alert system and strategy to publicize a future pandemic or global crisis. This idea is not only current and relevant but will involve various subjects and expand into a much bigger concept. This would be great for a semester or year-long project!
- Form a discussion about technology and the importance of it today. Thanks to technology, distance learning and working remotely have become a standard approach to continuing school and business operations. This topic is fitting for today’s current challenges and encourages students to think critically about what tools are necessary to master and adapt to a technology-rich society.
These ideas are here to help but feel free to apply the above concepts to what you are currently teaching too! Project-based learning is a continuous process that can grow and change in many directions. Ask probing questions, require research and data when gathering information, but above all let the students think freely and openly so an authentic learning experience can be formed. Successfully adopting project-based learning can be a learning experience in itself and that’s the best part about it. For more training on project-based learning, register for our CTL professional development webinar with Dani Kennis about project-based learning during distance learning.
By Nani Kalakau | Marketing Coordinator
Nani Kalakau is the Marketing Coordinator at CTL. She loves to create, travel and experience different cultures.