Exemplary Examples of Project-Based Learning

Grades K - 2 (ages 5 - 7)

**Healthy Eating: Are We What We Eat?**: Are we really what we eat?
Grade: K-2, Science, Math
Primary students investigate the age-old adage: You are what you eat. Students plan a healthy diet, create slideshow presentations to show how to make healthy food choices, learn about the food pyramid, interview classmates about food choices, and create a graph based on information gathered. Most importantly, students learn about how to make healthy food choices to live a long, healthy life.

**Meet the Bears**: Are we like other animals?
Grade: 2, Science, Mathematics
How many of ME would it take to outweigh a polar bear? Primary students look at bears from all angles and apply math and measurement skills to compare themselves with their furry friends.

**Monster Swap**: How can I communicate so others will understand?
Grade: 1-3, Language Arts
Primary students give their imaginations a workout by creating unique monsters. They then hone their writing skills by writing descriptions for cyber pals who will try to re-create the students’ terrible beasts!

**Multimedia Morning Mania**: How do we make meaning with symbols?
Grade: K-2, Language Arts, Mathematics, Science
A multimedia slideshow focuses young students' attention on academics as they arrive at school. The interactive presentation offers an engaging and entertaining way to introduce and reinforce important concepts and skills.

**My Family: Past, Present, and Future**: How will I make a difference?
Grade: 2, Social Studies, Mathematics
Students in grade two explore the lives of actual people who make a difference in their everyday lives and differentiate between events that happened long ago and events that happened yesterday by studying their family histories.

**Pondwater and Pollywogs**: Why do people say, “There is no place like home”?
Grade: K-2, Life Science
Primary students rear frogs from eggs and share their expertise in an informative brochure for visitors at a new amphibian exhibit at the local zoo.

**Seasoning the School** **Year**: How does the world change during the year?
Grade: K-2, Science
Grade school botanists and climatologists investigate seasonal changes, and create class books for the National Arbor Day Foundation.

**Teacher's** **Pet**: Do animals and humans need each other?
Grade: 2-3, Science
In an effort to choose the perfect pet for their teacher, primary students study the habitat requirements of domestic animals and learn what it takes to be a responsible pet owner. Students compare the needs of pets to those of their untamed counterparts in the wild, and students learn to be better friends to animals everywhere.

Grades 3-5 (ages 8-10)

**African Adventure Safari**: What is the price of life?
Grade: 3-5, Science
Student naturalists help safari guests learn about diversity, interdependence, and wonder of life in the African wild.

**Flat Stanley**: Are we really so different from others?
Grade: 3-5, Social Studies
By sending a flat friend on vacation, children learn about life in other countries and get an opportunity to host flat travelers from around the world.

**Float That Boat!**: How can we explain the things that happen around us?
Grade: 3-5, Science
We B Toys just completed their annual customer satisfaction reviews of their toy boat line. They have learned that customers have complained that their boats tend to sink. They are looking for new toy boats and are offering to purchase $1 million worth of merchandise to the company that produces the best boat. Student teams design new boats that will float and prepare proposals to market their boats.

**Food for Thought**: How can I stay healthy?
Grade: 5, Science, Mathematics
Elementary students learn about health, nutrition, and consumerism as they create a new restaurant that offers healthy and appealing foods.

**Fractions Made Visual**: Does accuracy really matter that much?
Grade: 3-5, Math
Students take on the role of professionals who use fractions on the job. After researching, they create and share multimedia presentations or newsletters that demonstrate the importance of knowing fractions in their chosen professions.

**From Sea to Sea**: How are we different from others?
Grade: 3-5, Social Studies
Using a WebQuest, students take on the role of Chamber of Commerce employees and develop informational brochures for a local city. Then, they learn more about the economy of trade and its impact on the local cities and citizens. After developing slideshow presentations, students present what they have learned to an outside audience.

**Go-Go Gadget: Invent a Machine**: How can we make life easier?
Grade: 3-5, Science
Young inventors put their knowledge of simple machines to the test as they create new, labor-saving machines of their own!

**Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet**: How are we interconnected?
Grade: 3-5, Science
Working in cooperative groups, students become marine biologists and oceanographers, offering testimony to the United Nations about the health of various ocean ecosystems. Students inform UN delegates about the fate of our oceans, and then offer ideas for protecting our watery world by creating informational brochures and presenting their findings.

**Music of the Westward Expansion**: How do the arts reflect history?
Grade: 3-5, Music, Social Studies
Students study the great westward migration of the mid-19th century in America and learn how important music was to those traveling along the trail. Students listen to popular music of the time, and investigate the history and origins of a variety of songs. In a final celebration, students sing and play tunes, and present their interpretations from the points of view of a pioneer or composer.

**Red Light, Green Light**: How can we communicate so we will be heard and understood?
Grade: 3-5, Social Studies
A car accident in a school neighborhood motivates students, parents, and community members to campaign for improved street safety. Students collect, represent, and analyze traffic data in the area around their school, and they think of ways to make everyone safer.

**The Great Bean Race**: Is conquering the impossible possible?
Grade: 3-5, Science
Young botanists investigate plant growth as they compete in a lima bean stalk growing competition with students from other geographic locations.

**Wave of Spring**: What changes do you see?
Grade: 3-5, Science, Math, Social Studies
Students anticipate and track the arrival of spring as they plant tulip bulbs and share observations about growth milestones with other student gardeners throughout the Northern Hemisphere.

**Where in the World Is Cinderella?**: Does happily ever after really exist?
Grade: 3-5, Language Arts, Social Studies
Elementary students travel the world as they read the many tales of Cinderella, also known as Cendrillon, Ashpet, Yeh Shin, Tattercoats, and Cenicienta. Students analyze the story and rewrite it from another point of view.

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Grades 6-8 (ages 11-13)

What's On Your iPod? Is there meaning in music?
Grades 6-8, Language Arts, Music, Religion
Students identify three songs from their iPod that they want to use for this project. They print out the lyrics to the songs to verify that the content is appropriate. Students then think about the words to the songs and illustrate

**Creative Kids Go Pro**: How can we help our community?
Grade: 6-8, Language Arts, Visual Arts, Social Studies
A student public relations team seeks to benefit a local business or community organization by publishing informational brochures.

**Density: Got Gas?**: How is science applied in the real world?
Grade: 6-9, Science
Students engage in a variety of investigations related to the density of liquids, solids, and gases. They build hot air balloons, experiment with variables that affect flight success, and enter their balloons in a rally.

**Destination America: Our Hope, Our Future**: Why take the risk?
Grade: 6-8, Social Studies
Students travel back in time to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as they experience life through the eyes of a European immigrant who first steps foot on U.S. soil.

**Don't Trash the Earth**: Social responsibilities—who decides?
Grade: 6-8, Science
In an interdisciplinary conservation project, middle school students are presented with a scenario that their local landfill is about to close because it is too full. Students play the role of waste management consultants, and analyze past and current waste management practices at their school and community. Teams devise a cost-effective and user-friendly recycling program. In a culminating event, students turn trash into cash as they sell beautiful and useful crafts made from recycled materials at a holiday fair.

**Enduring Heroes**: What is a hero?
Grade: 6-8, Language Arts
Middle school students discover heroes of past and present. As they read about heroes in Greek mythology, they consider a contemporary hero and write a myth about that hero.

**Fair Games**: Is life fair?
Grade: 6-8, Mathematics
Have you ever heard, “That’s not fair” during a game? Any good game must be fair so that each player has an equal chance at winning. Students learn about the mathematics notion of fairness while participating in activities and games of chance. Students take on the role of game designer to create a new game for a toy company describing the rules for play and explaining why the game is fair. These new designers then present the game to an audience of invited guests.

**Forensics: Get a Clue**: How are math and science put to work in the real world?
Grade: 6-8, Math, Science
Put on your gloves, take out your magnifiying glasses, and get ready to become a crime scene investigator. Middle school students become super sleuths as they learn and apply scientific investigation skills to solve a crime. They apply deductive reasoning skills to make sense of the relationships between events, suspects, motives, evidence, and ultimately solve this whodunnit.

**How Can I Relate to a Million or a Billion?**: How can I relate?
Grades: 5-7, Mathematics
How big is a million really? How about a billion? Estimating and understanding large numbers are useful mathematical skills. Students learn about large numbers so that they can comprehend the magnitude of large numbers.

**Insects: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly**: How are things around me helpful or harmful?
Grade: 6-8, Science
Insects are often regarded as disgusting, squishable annoyances. In this unit, students become entomologists and investigate the role insects play in our lives and the world around us.

**Literature e-Circles**: Why should words be chosen carefully, and why do people tell you to be careful what you say?
Grade: 6-8, Language Arts
Using the popular young adult novel, Holes, middle school students explore relevant topics such as relationships to authority, friendship, and morality. Students also learn valuable strategies for making literature personally meaningful.

**Metric Madness**: How can math help me understand my world?
Grade: 6-8, Math
Students create persuasive brochures to convince the public to mandate the use of metrics as the only accepted measurement system.

**Plugging In to the Sun**: What causes people (scientists) to consider new alternatives to solve problems?
Grade: 6-8, Science
Students take the role of energy engineers as they study the sun’s energy, fossil fuels, and the motion of the Earth and moon around the sun. Students also build solar cookers to harness solar energy for an egg cook-off.

**Rock Our Town**: What changes do you see?
Grade: 6-8, Science
Students became geologists and present proposals to the town planning committee as to what types of native materials planners might use to create and enhance streets, buildings, pathways, and other structures.

**Sixteenth Street: Civil Rights**: What are your basic human rights?
Grade: 6-8, Social Studies
The novel The Watsons Go to Birmingham and the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing in 1963 serve as vehicles for examining racial discrimination and the impact of the civil rights movement on the fight for social justice in the United States.

**Starquest**: What can we learn from the night sky?
Grade: 6-8, Science, Language Arts
Students relate our modern view of the night sky to that of the ancients. Studying the changing views of stars in the night sky helps students know more about astronomy and culture.

**The Earth Moves Under My Feet**: How does change affect the future?
Grade: 6-8, Science
Students are assigned to task forces with the mission to develop a comprehensive emergency earthquake plan for the “slice” of Earth they have been assigned. Each task force will collect real-time seismic data and use that information and other research as a basis for recommendations for a specific area.

**The Pearl**: Is more ever enough?
Grade: 6-9, Language Arts
Is more ever enough? Poverty, greed, living for the future instead of in the moment—these are the timeless foibles of human nature that middle school students understand better after reading and rewriting John Steinbeck novella, The Pearl.

**The World Through a Different Pair of Eyes**: How does where we live influence how we live?
Grade: 6-8, Social Studies
Middle school students see the world through another pair of eyes as they communicate with other students from different countries. Students learn about life in other parts of the world, investigate current events, and learn about factors that affect the quality of life and longevity of other cultures. Students address the issue of the possible correlation between where people are born and how long they are likely to live.

**Virtual Ambassador**: How can individuals make a difference in the world?
Grade: 6-9, Social Studies
What are some of the problems facing people in developing countries? How can foreign and local volunteers help? Students correspond with Peace Corps volunteers working around the world as they tackle these difficult questions. Once students narrow their focus to a particular problem in a specific place, they assume the role of advisors to the United States ambassador of a developing nation and create a proposal for a volunteer program.

**What Happened to Robin?**: How can I help protect urban wildlife?
Grade: 6-8, Science
Community-minded students help a wildlife rehabilitation center analyze small animal injury data. Students report their analysis and recommendations to concerned neighborhood groups to educate others on stewardship of urban wildlife.

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Grades 9-10 (ages 14-15)

**Biomes: Action for a Healthy** **Planet**: What can I do to affect the future?
Grade: 9-10, Science
Student activists explore the biomes of the world and develop a campaign to increase public awareness to assure protection of biome health.

**Cell-to-Cell**: What's the connection?
Grade: 9, Science
Students assume the role of medical researchers and use their understanding of groundbreaking cell biology research to trace the origins of diseases back to the cellular level.

**Choreographing Math**: How can we communicate through movement?
Grade: 8-10, Mathematics
Students get out of their seats and move to music while learning about mathematical functions. They explore linear equations using a graphing calculator and choreograph dance moves to communicate these concepts.

**Composting: Why Bother?**: How can I contribute to making a better tomorrow?
Grade: 8-10, Science
Will we drown in our own garbage? Most organic waste is being trucked and deposited unnecessarily into our landfills. In this study, students learn how to make compost and begin to understand the social impact of composting. Students also engage in the “Rot Off!” composting challenge. In this challenge, student teams divert the school’s kitchen and yard debris from the waste stream into uniquely designed compost bins, turning garbage into “black gold,” beautiful and rich compost.

**Designer Genes: One Size Fits All?**: Just because we can, should we?
Grade: 8-10, Life Science
Student genetics experts help farmers in a blight-stricken region of Mexico decide whether to use genetically engineered corn.

**El Misterio de los Mayas**: What brings about the rise and fall of great civilizations?
Grade: 9-12, Spanish Language, Social Studies
Mist and mystery still shroud the ancient Mayan ruins of Mesoamerica. Spanish students conduct research into history and archaeology to learn about the fascinating and mysterious Mayas. Students share their conclusions through slideshow presentations.

**Energy Innovations**: What is a quality life?
Grade: 9-10, Math, Algebra, Science, Social Issues
To encourage global consciousness, students research the impact of alternative fuel sources and how their daily decisions about energy will affect their quality of life, personally and globally. As a culminating project, students simulate the decision making process of buying their first car and investigate how data and statistics can impact their decision.

**Equality: Are Some More Equal than Others?**: Whose responsibility is it to create the conditions that promote equal rights for all?
Grade: 9-12, Social Studies
High school students work in groups to build an understanding of the history of the struggle for human rights in the United States and around the world.

**Lights, Camera, Reaction!**: What causes change?
Grade: 9-10, Science
Lights, Camera, Reaction! In a high school chemistry class, student film moguls have been hired to produce a video masterpiece featuring classic compounds whose chemistry lights up the screen!

**Pedal Power**: How does math help us understand our world?
Grade: 10-12, Math
Desired by 6-year olds eager to ride, rejected by teenagers eager to drive, and relied on as the primary mode of transportation for millions of people worldwide—what is it? The bicycle! Explore this unit and check out the mathematics behind this amazing and versatile machine.

**Play Ball!**: How can we use mathematics to help us understand daily life?
Grade: 7-10, Math
From slugging percentages to earned run averages (ERAs), students explore the mathematics of baseball using spreadsheets and create an informative presentation that makes the national pastime even more enjoyable for its fans.

**Roll the Presses**: How is information power?
Grade: 6-10, Social Studies, Language Arts
Students investigate all aspects of the written word, from Johannes Gutenberg’s 15th Century invention of the printing press to protections and censorship that affect the exchange of ideas. Students then study expression on a broader scope, examining the American constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech, and how it has been protected or compromised over time.

**//Romeo and Juliet//****: Insight into Ourselves**: How does literature help us better understand ourselves?
Grade: 8-10, Language Arts
Students use Romeo and Juliet to look at personal responsibility, an individual's freedom of choice, and the effect of one’s actions on others.