Getting Started With Project-Based Learning For Parents

-Insights from the book Invent to Learn*

Project Based Learning is a teaching method wherein students gain knowledge and skills working for an extended period of time on an activity. Students engage in an iterative process of asking questions, finding resources and applying information.

1. Choose a project that is meaningful to your child. They will invest their time, effort and creativity in something that intrigues them personally, which could be to expand on a topic from school, elaborate on a hobby or sport, or magnify a favorite book or video game. The project can be framed as solving an appropriately challenging problem.

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2. Have a wide variety of materials. Sometimes all the inspiration a child needs can come from playing with materials and putting them together in their own way. For example craft materials, a pile of cups, a few pipe cleaners and some paper plates can form a new type of space ship or planet. Aim to have a sufficient quantity of building blocks and a wide variety of materials. Technology aids like tablets or laptops facilitate internet research as part of the process.

3. Allow enough time to plan, think, discuss and ask questions. The child can revisit their work over a period of time making revisions or testing different ideas. The process of revision and editing can be valuable and eye-opening.

 

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4. Encourage them to share their work. They can show designs to family members or friends, share online or create an exhibit space in the home. They can share their process using drawings and prototypes in paper, clay or 3D printed materials. Other people can learn from and be inspired by the work, and feedback can be motivating.

Project-based learning has benefits of a greater depth of understanding of concepts, improved communication and increased creativity**. Please share your experiences with project based learning with 3D Roundhouse.

*Source: Martinez, Sylvia Libow; Stager, Gary S. (2013-05-10). Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom.

**Source: Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project-based_learning

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