Project based learning is a great way to get your students engaged in real world problem solving without even realizing it! The thought of starting project based learning can be overwhelming, although it really isn’t. This project based learning example will walk you through the steps from start to finish. You’ll see just how easy it is to implement project based learning in your classroom.
Your students will love this project based learning activity. This National Park themed project will have your students researching, planning and imagining their next adventure. But first things first . . .
Project Based Learning Example – Getting Ready!
This National Parks PBL Packet has everything you need all in one place. Designed to be LOW PREP for you, the teacher, this resource will make implementing project based learning a breeze.
Before you begin, review the packet. This will give you a chance to see the many different activities that are part of this resource. You can do all of the activities or choose the ones that best meet your learning objectives. You will also need to decide if students will complete this project independently or in small groups.
After you choose the activities you would like your students to complete, make copies of the pages you will need. You can put all of the activities together into a small packet or booklet for each student or group, or you can give them one activity at a time.
Teacher Tip: It is really nice to have all the copies made and ready to go. This makes it easy to keep the students moving from one activity to the next.
Introducing the Project
Getting your students excited about the project is usually pretty easy. Show your students some photos or videos from the National Park System website, talk about visits you’ve made to a national park, or get students to share their visits too. The National park website has virtual park visits that would make a great introduction too!
This video by @finleyhoilday would make a great introduction. The video is very professional and filled with great footage to help get your students excited. Whether you use this or another video – always make sure to preview it to make sure it is appropriate for classroom viewing.
Once you introduce the project, it’s time to give the students their packet or first activity. One of the important aspects of project based learning is not providing too much instruction. One of the main goals is for students to use problem solving skills as they work through the project. For more information on project based learning read this post with tips and ideas.
Starting the Project
This National Park project can be easily divided into three parts for the students: Planning the Visit, The Virtual Visit, Remembering the Visit. If you are interested in using all three of the final projects they fit nicely with one in each section.
1. Planning the Visit
During this first phase of the project students will focus on research. The research will introduce them to a number of different national parks all around the United States. They will choose 4 parks they are interested in visiting and do a little more research before choosing the final park.
Once their decision has been made students will begin planning their visit. This will include research into activities, map skills, planning meals and packing for a camping trip and much more!
If you choose to add a final project to the end of this phase, then mapping the journey is where you want to begin. Students will use a map to locate where they live and the park they want to visit. Then they will need to create their driving route and document all the states they will drive through. A great geography and map activity with added elements of writing too!
2. The Virtual Visit
Once the planning is done it will be time for the virtual park visit. Encourage students to imagine they were in the park with their family or friends. If they haven’t watched videos or about their park this is a great time to do that. Then let them unleash their creativity as they create pictures, selfies and more to document their virtual visit.
This phase of the project allows students to work on higher level thinking skills as they apply knowledge from the first phase of the project.
If you choose to end this phase with a larger project, your students will love creating a brochure for the national park. Complete with facts, ideas and pictures, this national park brochure will help students organize all they have learned in a meaningful way.
3. Remembering the Visit
The final phase of this project is when students will remember and reminisce about their national park visit. This phase is filled with great writing opportunities. Your students will love documenting their favorite moments from their national park camping trip.
The final project, if you choose to do it, is a persuasive writing task where the goal is to persuade others to visit the national park.
Wrapping Up the Project
It’s always fun to wrap up the project with a special presentation day. Students could do oral presentations on their national park visit or one activity from the project. You could also add some technology integration and allow students to make their own travel video or virtual field trip using their completed activities and a simple movie app like iMovie.
This project based learning example is just that – an example of how you could easily implement project based learning in your classroom. As always, you best know your students, your schedule and the learning objectives. Trust your teacher instincts and make this project your own! Everything you need is provided in the packet.
You can find more project based learning activities here:
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