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save time with project based learning

How Project-Based Learning Can Save You Time & Increase Engagement

Project-based learning is a fantastic way to create rigorous and engaging learning opportunities for students. As today’s society continues to progress, the demands on the working population increase. For example, we are seeing more that require critical thinking, collaboration and problem solving. 

This relates back to project-based learning because we as educators have a responsibility to teach students these new, 21st century skills rather than focusing on rote memorization & output. Project-based learning and assessment allows us to do just that and comes with a number of other benefits. I know, this may seem like just another thing to add to your plate but I promise it saves you time in the end!

project-based learning benefits

How Project-Based Learning Saves Time

You may have come across different PBL assignments on Pinterest or TpT and felt like you just don’t have time to implement this type of assessment. This I can’t argue. PBL assessments do take longer than a test or simple project however, PBL usually covers multiple subject areas and a number of curriculum standards within each subject. Meaning, one assignment may be able to give you grades for 3 subjects and 1-3 strands in each subject. When you consider this, these types of projects actually do save a lot of time, planning and stress.

For example, if you have students design their dream room. This type of project could include:

  • Math: measurement (area/perimeter), number sense (adding/subtracting), money (pricing, budgeting), geometry (if they build it out)
  • Language: descriptive writing (describing their room in detail), oral communication (presenting their room to others)
  • Art: using a shoebox and other materials to create a prototype of their room
  • Media Literacy: creating a poster/brochure of their room

As you can see, this project would certainly take time but would also give students the opportunity to display their personality, skills and creativity in a variety of subject areas. A similar project could be having students design a zoo! Click here to check it out.

project-based learning area and perimeter zoo

area and perimeter zoo

Academic Benefits

If you aren’t convinced yet, let’s review some of the academic benefits. Aside from teaching students important 21st century skills, project-based learning is also highly engaging. When a student sees a direct, realistic application of the concepts they are learning in school they will be more motivated to learn. How many times have you heard the phrase “but when will we ever use this?” or “why are we learning this?”. And honestly, these are FAIR questions that our students ask us. We would ask the same question if we were put into a PD that felt useless or that we didn’t connect to.

Another benefit is the flexibility that these projects provide. Typically, if we are administering a test, we would have to create a modified version of that for any students on IEPs or alternative learning plans. The beauty of PBL is that the projects are accessible and flexible. They have clear expectations but the project itself isn’t as rigid as a test because there is so much creativity involved in the final product. For example, in the area & perimeter zoo project you may ask students to include irregular shapes but you might remove that expectation for a student who is working on simply finding A&P for squares & rectangles.

Hopefully this has given you a starting point for project-based learning and encouraged you to give it a shot! If you have any questions about PBL, comment below or reach out to me on Instagram and let’s chat! Alternatively, check out this blog post for more info!

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I’m Katarina and I teach elementary students in Toronto, Canada. I’m passionate about creating authentic learning experiences that students will love and remember. If you are looking to improve your classroom management and engage your students with easy-to-implement resources and tools, you’re in the right place!

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