Project-Based Learning Ideas

Instructor: Eric Campos

Eric has tutored in English, writing, history, and other subjects.

Project-based learning propels students to conduct research and use teamwork in order to solve problems and present the results of their work. Learn more about project-based learning and how you can use it in your own classroom.

Using Project-Based Learning

Project-based learning shouldn't be confused with simply assigning students a project. Rather, this instructional technique puts greater emphasis on the learning process students experience over the life cycle of the project itself. These projects push groups of students to use their collaboration and problem-solving skills in order to come up with an original stance on an issue or produce a physical result. Project-based learning is versatile and can be applied to any subject; it can even be used to address issues outside of the classroom. Here are a few ideas to help you come up with the perfect project-based learning prompts for your class.

Take A Stance

Have your students choose a stance on a topic and do the research required to support it. If you want to spice things up, you can even assign which topic or stance each group will take.

Instruct students to present their stances to the rest of the class in the form of a visual presentation, such as PowerPoint slides, a video, or any other medium that will allow them to outline the main points of their reasoning and research. Make sure your students cite evidence and prepare to defend their argument against the other groups. After the presentation, you can moderate a class debate. This will push students to think on their feet and encourage them to find ways to challenge other groups' positions, which means this project also focuses on critical thinking! Some topics for debate might include:

  • Should animals be used in scientific experiments?
  • Who should bear the blame for Romeo and Juliet's deaths?
  • Should grades be replaced?

Scenario Project

Present students with hypothetical situations that will require them to conduct a little research and approach the situation from multiple angles in order to come up with a solution. Here are a few ideas:

  • You and your team are factory workers during the Industrial Revolution. Draft a letter to the factory owner in which you describe your working conditions. Include a list of actions you think he should take to create a better work environment.
  • Your group is forming a new political party. What are the main issues your party is addressing and how will you approach solving them?
  • You and your group are a team of scientists trying to protect our ecosystem. Design an informational brochure outlining facts about maintaining a clean environment and propose ways to improve current methods.

Alternative History Project

Have your students explore alternative histories by giving them a prompt in which they examine the effects of a hypothetical circumstance. Student teams will have to work together to learn how the past influences the present and how current circumstances can affect our future. Here are a few prompt examples:

  • What if Kennedy survived the assassination attempt and had a full term as president? How might history have been different?
  • What would happen to the world if another ice age came about as a result of shifting climate? How would government policy be affected?
  • How would our world be different if flight wasn't invented?

Teaching Resources

Continue researching project-based learning with's online resources that are available at your convenience. Be sure to check out this lesson on Project Based Learning: Definition and Ideas for a look at the components of this instructional approach as well as tips for using it in class. This Project-Based Learning Activities lesson also outlines the different types of projects you and your students can undertake.

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