Project-Based Learning In Social Studies
by Fern Tavalin
Students prepare projects for social studies to show their ability to investigate topics, use primary resources, and ask questions in light of a theme of study. Projects are assigned so that students gain a first hand sense of what it means to investigate or what it means to translate an idea from one format into another.
A well designed project enhances a unit of study, deepens student learning, gives an opportunity for multisensory exploration, and connects learning goals to curriculm and assessment in an integrated fashion where each builds and strengthens the other.
As projects are created, there is a lot of learning that happens along the way. Some of it is predictible and some of it arrives as an unexpected surprise. A teacher’s job is to set a structure for making projects that yields some predictible results and fosters a learning environment that allows for some unanticipated outcomes.