Imagine you are an architect and you have to design and plan the architecture of a city. How will that city look like? How will the roads be planned? How shall be the mobility? How shall schools, public gardens, and houses be placed? What all civic rules should the population should? What can be the strategy for providing commodities in the city?
There can be ‘n’ big questions that can be derived out of a project. The big questions around creating something have a lot of power to drive Learning on knowledge and skill in them. When given to students, asking them to do the project while applying the concepts that they learnt across all subjects can provide immense opportunities for them to apply their knowledge, work with peers in groups, develop new skills and connect their learning across subjects and skills to solve a problem. This is called project-based learning.
The misconception that project is an external element of the curriculum and is more of a fun exercise for students is not totally true as the way we weave the project with our curriculum and objectives covers a lot of learning which we intend to provide explicit ally through class lessons and activities.
Taking the above example of designing a city, the fact that students have to plan the roads of the city, they get a chance to apply skill of measurement, number sense, conversions to calculate the length of the roads. To ensure one road should be bigger than the other, they need to find out the ratios of two or more roads so that they can decide the length of the roads as per the maps. Many more concepts of Maths can be mapped to the project as per the need of the class.
Answering what all rules shall the population of the city follow provides an opportunity to students to think deeply about the civic rules around hygiene, pollution, criminal laws, judiciary and many more. The idea of how the positive behaviours can be inculcated in the people and work around that so that less of the rules get broken can help building character in students.
Thinking about the different places in the city and planning maps around it can improve the students’ power of understanding navigation, which is usually part of geography.
As it can be seen, Project based learning has the capability to not just integrate objectives across various subjects but also an opportunity for students to apply their theoretical learning into a practical situation, it leads to skill development. Along with subject knowledge and skill building, another major aspect of project building is working with peers. Students when work together, their values and mindset gets built. The values which are taught to students explicitly can be learned easily when working in a group. Respecting each other’s opinions, listening patiently, contributing equally are some of the examples of the soft skills that students learn on their own when they start working in group.
Thus inculcating the project based learning in teaching can be really helpful to enhance the learning process and overall development of students.
By Ritika Arora – Educational Specialist