14 minutes read
May 20, 2022
10 Project-Based Learning (PBL) Ideas for Every Math Teacher
Math teaches foundational skills that children need to know and apply in the classroom and in real-life situations. But how about a scenario where kids are not interested in learning no matter how hard you try?
You could opt for alternative teaching approaches to make kids embrace and understand math. One of the most effective approaches you can take is to teach students through projects. But to do that effectively, you need to understand the idea of project-based learning (PBL) as well as the benefits and disadvantages of the approach.
What Is Project-Based Learning?
Today, educators use numerous methods to ensure kids understand math. Project-based learning definition states that it is a teaching and learning approach in which students work on real-world problems, needs, challenges, and concerns to gain more math knowledge. When tutors incorporate PBL into a child’s curriculum, students work on real-world issues for an extended period to understand mathematical concepts.
Using a PBL approach, a tutor builds curricula around projects that foster inquiry-based activities. This way, kids can easily understand concepts and exchange ideas with their peers while also seeing the results of their actions. The benefits of project based learning include development of essential skills like time management, proper allocation of resources, independence, cooperation, and even adequate presentation of ideas.
Project based learning technique leaves room for tutors to customize projects to fit the curricula. A teacher’s role is to aid students by answering their questions. So, it’s no surprise that many parents have adopted the PBL technique for homeschooling.
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What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Project-Based Learning?
PBL assignments challenge kids to think critically, collaborate with others, and communicate differently. But, there are some downsides to using project-based learning techniques to teach kids.
Advantages of PBL
With project based learning, math can be an enjoyable topic for the kids. Students will be able to put what they have learned into practice. They can gain practical life skills like communication skills and teamwork when participating in group activities.
In addition to having fun, students acquire time management and problem-solving skills when working on projects. Also, PBL promotes students’ creativity. Children will benefit much from making learning enjoyable, and this, in turn, will improve their comprehension.
Disadvantages of PBL
Some drawbacks of project-based learning are more evident than others. When teachers are new to the approach, a disruptive student may deviate from the course of the study. Management of group work may pose many challenges, including keeping everyone on the same page.
For the most part, conventional classrooms use a curriculum map to teach specific skills in a predetermined sequence. As students work on their projects, it may be challenging to fit all instructions into the timetable. If a teacher doesn’t get to cover all the information and material in a course, the evaluation process might take a long time.
Key Features of PBL
Before practicing project-based learning with students, you need to know its components. If you do not, you may make mistakes and fail to achieve anything tangible from the project. Here are some key features of PBL to enable you to get the most out of this hands-on activity.
Any PBL project must be based on a significant issue or challenge that has to be resolved. Students can elaborate and explore during the learning process when they work on a well-designed problem, question, or challenge. Once the issues are intriguing, student’s commitment and motivation are more likely to skyrocket.
A project is a fun activity or hands-on experience that requires little intellectual work. PBL makes any project the focus of the class. If students want to produce a high-quality result, they need time to think critically about a complex topic or subject and consider many possible solutions. By engaging in deep thinking, they can learn more complex matters.
PBL requires that students work in flexible groups which helps them improve their collaborative abilities and build knowledge together, using their unique viewpoints and skillsets. Learners who work together effectively do so in a spirit of mutual respect and appreciation for each other’s efforts. So, they all collaborate to ensure that they get a good result. With PBL, students need to collaborate; else, the project may flop.
Extensive research process
Inquiry, study, and application are parts of a PBL project’s thorough research process. Students must be able to critically analyze the guiding issue to complete the task in an excellent way. Phases of the project based learning lesson plans have a clear path that students must follow as a PBL project often takes more than a few days to complete.
Encouraging reflection time allows students to make critical project revisions and to develop from the experience of learning something new. Now, the children have enough time to think and follow a step-by-step approach which gives pupils an opportunity for introspection and self-reflection.
Revision and criticism
Remember that students need to work together to achieve a specific goal, and PBL encourages kids to provide, accept, and apply feedback to enhance their final work. Peer-to-peer interaction should help students improve their work and learn from classmates.
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10 Project-based Learning Ideas
Now that you know the PBL meaning, its advantages, disadvantages, and essential elements, please check some examples of PBL projects. Here are ten project based learning examples you may offer to your kids. These activities will give you a headstart and explain the concept of PBL better.
Make a city
Students need to design a city from scratch using their geometry abilities for this activity. This exercise requires not just knowledge of math but also mapping skills, writing, and geometry. Kids will need to develop the city using 2D and 3D shapes.
This project allows students to put their geometric abilities to use while tackling real-world problems and making judgments based on their own experiences. Here, many geometric principles will come into play. The kids will have to design a mock city with buildings, roads, and parks using several forms, lines, angles, shapes, etc.
What is the perimeter?
Have your kids practice estimating areas by creating their own homes from the ground up. Have them add furnishings and calculate the total size of rooms by counting squares and half squares. Then ask them critical thinking questions on estimation, determining area, and finding perimeter.
To figure out how much space is left in a home, they should rearrange furniture and estimate the number of squares. Ask students to calculate the dimensions (perimeter and area) of their drawings based on the sizes of the squares. Using this or similar project-based learning ideas, students can better understand boundaries and space.
To draw life-sized robots, students must use their knowledge of quadrilaterals, like squares, rectangles, trapezoids, rhombus, etc. You can guide kids by showing samples of how the final product should appear. This activity is an excellent way to learn about quadrilaterals while having a good time.
For this project, you could provide an activity sheet describing the properties of shapes and indicating where you would want kids to place them when creating a robot. Students should work together to find answers to the questions and then present their findings to peers.
What is the budget?
Similar to Monopoly, this activity is effective because you can interact with kids in-person and online. With this project-based lesson plan, you can help students improve their money skills. In this PBL activity, your children will see what it takes to plan a household budget.
Making choices is critical in the real world, and this project provides virtual decisions. With this enjoyable exercise, kids can understand the concepts of time management and money. They can choose what to spend their money on (houses, clothes, etc.) But they need to do simple math operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division to earn cash.
The pet shop
Your children will have a blast as they practice real-world math applications in this project based learning curriculum. This activity will help kids understand the concept of money, improve multiplication, addition, subtraction skills, etc. Children will have to pretend to run a pet shop for this activity.
They will have judgments about managing their new business ventures, selling pets, and even buying pet food. Since this project will be make-believe, some students will act like customers while others will be employees. They are to use fake money, and the employees are to calculate change for their clients after each purchase.
Pythagoras, what is your angle?
The ability to communicate one’s knowledge to others is essential for students to acquire. A fundamental goal of this project is to get older students to utilize their existing understanding of right-angle geometry to produce a lesson. They are to bring up project based learning ideas that will help educate youngsters properly.
Older students should simplify the Pythagorean concept so that their younger peers will find it exciting and relevant to their own lives and studies. You can arrange an interactive session between students from different grades and have more advanced kids explain the concept to other students.
The house-building project
For this PBL idea, students are to analyze different pictures of houses and determine what shapes they can find on the structures. After that, they will use their geometric skills to build a home that supports their findings.
As part of the course, students will create a model for a home, deliver its design and demonstrate their thoughts in the form of a 10-minute presentation. Each group should have speakers deliver brief presentations that concentrate on the angles and shapes in the house.
Let’s go tripping
Your children will have a blast as they practice real-world math applications in this PBL activity. Students are tasked with creating a detailed itinerary for a journey to another country. Group the children into temporary families and give them a certain amount of money to manage.
Kids will learn to add, subtract, and even carry out multiplications seamlessly with time. They are to prepare a grocery list every day and see how much they have left. By the end of the academic term, you and all the families will come together to checkmate all the grocery lists, so you can confirm if their additions, subtractions, and multiplications are correct.
The shape identification challenge
For this PBL activity, divide the class into two groups and give them tasks. Group A could be tasked with identifying circles, while Group B could focus on triangles. As a daily routine, kids should look around their environment to see and record objects whose shapes fit the one you asked their group to identify.
You can make this project competitive by giving it a timeline and a criterion for winning. For instance, you could tell students that the group that identifies the biggest number of objects with forms based on their target shapes would win at the end of the term. They are also to record their findings and give a presentation by then.
The counting cars activity teaches kids colors and counting. For this project based learning project, schools are ideal venues because of numerous cars that drive in and out. You could go to the teacher’s parking lot and check for the colors of cars, say black, white, blue, and red. The kids should use a black crayon to make a dot on their recording sheet each time they observe a black car pass.
They are to keep marking for as long as you want. To record the passing of a blue car, they are to use a blue crayon to make a dot on the record sheet, and so on. As soon as you go back to the classroom, ask kids to count each color dot to get the total number of black, white, blue, and red cars for the day. You could carry out the activity for thirty minutes every day, and by the end of the week, ask the kids to tally everything up.
With kids, you always need new and innovative ways to make their learning exciting, or they may just lose interest in the subject. Project based learning approaches can make your students interested in math topics like addition, subtraction, geometry, and counting, especially where conventional teaching methods fail. So, if you need help with teaching your students math concepts, use the examples of project based learning projects in this article to get a headstart.