Baking cupcakes using different types of flour, cookies using different types of butter, and cakes using different types and amounts of sugar. Project based learning is something that I feel is used in the Family and Consumer Science classroom on a daily basis. So, what is Project based learning and why is it important? Project based learning gives student’s an extended amount of time to really explore what they are learning in class.
A classroom that is a Project Based Learning classroom is often very expressive. There is a lot of discussion, experimenting, and teamwork happening. It may not be the cleanest classroom in the world, but that doesn’t mean that it should never happen. As educators, we shouldn’t be afraid to have a messy classroom at the end of the day, we should worry if our students are learning and having fun while doing it. Being a hands on learner myself, I know that sometimes you can teach all you can, but some students won’t understand a concept until they see it happening themselves with a project.
So, what are students typically doing in a classroom where project based learning is being applied? I would highly suggest readying the Buck Institutes for Education (BIE) article What is Project Based Learning (PBL). My personal favorite part is the bulleted list. It talks about sustained inquiry, understanding and success skills, challenging a problem or question, authenticity, student voice & choices, reflection of the project, critique & revision, and making the product public.
Organization of the classroom would be very important for a project based classroom. I can see a Family and Consumer Science classroom set up with the kitchen at one half of the room and the other half to look like a regular classroom. Students can be hands on and experiment with their project while also have space to learn. Time is spent in the classroom by both learning and exploring. A lesson that is spent learning about a subject and a project that goes along with it will keep the students motivated to learn and keep then interceded in learning new things. This is also why teachers would choose this approach, to keep students interested while having fun learning.
The advantages of project based learning is that, on top of keeping students engaged, it opens up a world of hands on experience and it is a way to understand how your students will think. It gives students a chance to see what they are learning and watch how what they are learning affects them. The disadvantage of project based learning is that this type of learning may take a lot of money that they school doesn’t have. But as creative educators, I’m sure there is a way we can work around it.
I have already been looking for ideas on how to incorporate project-based learning. Want to see some that I have been looking at? Click here!
BLOG BONUS: I have had the opportunity to explore Twitter this week and I have found some great teachers to follow! Seeing everything they post from their classrooms has made me even more excited to become a teacher! Go check them out!