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Project Based Learning Idea: Plan a Road Trip

Project based learning is a great way to expose students to real world problems and activities. PBL activities engage them in learning skills and problem solving in a way that traditional class activities don’t. If you’ve never tried a PBL project, you will love it, AND your students will ask for more! These project based learning ideas for middle school and elementary students are just what you need to get started.

Who doesn’t love an epic road trip? Road trips are filled with memories, fun, adventure, and excitement.  But planning a road trip is anything but easy. There are so many amazing math, reading, writing, map reading and problem solving skills involved in a road trip that it is the perfect task for a fun project based learning activity.

Plan a Road Trip Project

This project based learning activity will have your students planning a road trip from start to finish.  Students can work independently or in small groups as they work through this PBL project. Although working in small groups can sometimes be more difficult, it also gives students opportunities to develop communication skills and inter-personal problem solving skills.

A great way to introduce this project is to show kids a variety of print or video commercials for vacation destinations. Show pictures from a personal road trip that you’ve taken. You can even ask your students to talk about road trips they have taken with their families or friends. Once the class is excited about the topic, it’s time to let them get started

The Plan a Road Trip PBL Project has everything you need to get you class started. Just choose the activities from the packet you want your students to complete. Start with the planning pages included in the project. You can then do all of the activities or choose the ones that best meet your own learning objectives.

This resource includes a variety of printable activity pages and 3 final projects – more than enough for a great PBL unit. You can choose to have the students complete one final activity at the end, or weave them into the project so they ultimately complete all three projects.

1. Choose a Destination

Students start by choosing 4 possible destinations for their road trip. After doing some basic research on each location they then narrow down their options to one final destination.

Let your students determine whether they will visit one place or make a loop from start to finish in order to see multiple locations, or whether to travel near or far. For older students, a great way to add a new level of complexity to the project is to give them an overall road trip budget.

After students choose their destination, you could add in project #1, Mapping the Route. This would be a great place to have students create a map of the road trip with labeled states and destinations!

2. Prepare for the Road Trip

Choosing the destination is just the start! Students will then work on planning their road trip. In this planning phase they will be working on activities like:

  • The Packing List
  • Must-See Spots
  • Places to Stay
  • Distance Traveled
  • Time and Money on the Road
  • So Much More!

As students research and complete the pages, they use many different problem-solving skills, while strengthening their reading, writing, and math skills. As you can see there is no academic skill loss in this project!

Students will document their amazing road trip project by creating their own road trip selfies, music play list and more.  They will send postcards to their friends from one or more locations and they can even design a billboard for one of the tourist attractions they visit.

3. A Virtual Road Trip

Once back home from their virtual road trip students will spend some time reminiscing!  They will love writing about their favorite places and activities along the way. This is the perfect place for project #3 – An Amazing Destination. In this persuasive writing activity, students write about their destination in an attempt to get others to visit it too!

Finish up with your very own Travel TV Show where students present their road trips to the class.  A fun way to end is to let students vote on where they want to go next based on their classmates presentations!

4. The Final Projects

Once students have completed the planning pages, it’s time to assign one (or all) of the three final projects! You can choose any or all of these final projects. And yes, the scoring rubrics are included!

Final Road Trip Project Options:

  • Mapping the Route
  • Create a Destination Brochure
  • An Amazing Destination Paragraph Writing

Once back home from their virtual road trip students will spend some time reminiscing!  They will love writing about their favorite places and activities along the way.  This is the perfect place for project #3 – An Amazing Destination.  This persuasive writing activity has students write about their road trip or one destination in an attempt to get others to visit it too!

Finish up with your very own Travel TV Show where students present their road trips to the class.  A fun way to end is to let students vote on where they want to go next based on their classmates presentations!

Ready to get started?

If you need more ideas on how to use project based learning in your classroom, check out this blog post filled with ideas.

Are you a parent or family getting ready to go on an actual road trip? Check out this great list of 30 Road Trip Trivia Games by Outdoorish.com!

SAVE THIS POST FOR LATER

If you are not quite ready for this fun and engaging project, then pin it to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you can find it quickly when you are ready!

Amy Hughes

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I'm Shelly Rees of Appletastic Learning. First and foremost, I'm a mom of 4 boys, wife of 25 years to Aric, and Wyoming girl at heart. I love being creative, making resources for teachers, baking cookies, Diet Coke, teaching, public speaking, and spreading kindness wherever I can. After teaching in the upper elementary grades for over 23 years, I retired early and focused on creating and helping teachers around the world with my teaching ideas and resources. I also serve as a mentor to hundreds of teacherpreneurs and help them get focused on growing their own successful businesses. With 100% honesty, I LOVE my life! Thanks for visiting! I hope you'll stay awhile and come back often. Read More

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