What is project based learning? Watch the above video from Commoncraft to get a clear definition.
As our students progress to more web based learning, we can encourage them to use their critical thinking skills more often with project based learning. Challenge based learning is more problem solving directed, encouraging motivation and higher level Bloom's taxonomy thinking skills. This is something our students can get excited about, and what many teachers could be incorporating into their classroom or home school environment. Many teachers incorporate this already into their courses, and with the use of multi- layered media technologies available on the web, project based learning becomes more feasible for home schoolers.
Take for instance the upcoming election. In this Challenge Based Learning website the video shows a student how to focus on essential questions to get his research started with regards to upcoming elections. Solving real world problems can be fun even for your elementary students. Homeschooling is an amazing arena for us to work on our critical thinking skills, because in many ways we are learning "out of the box". Now if we could use the areas that our students are already interested in researching, to inspire them to problem solve at the same time!
Teachers we can assess the knowledge and pre-conceived thinking a student may have, before launching them on their topic. But of course we need to let go of the idea that we are in charge. We need to take a step back and become facilitators! Students are allowed to make mistakes and learn from the process, as they compare data from different sources. We can be there to help them with the "who, why, where and how" questions. But the students need to be directing the process of problem solving.
In Project Based Learning for the 21 Century students go through an extended process of inquiry in response to a complex question, problem, or challenge. Rigorous projects help students learn key academic content and practice 21st Century Skills.
Here is an example of using Math in the classroom from Computing Technology for Math Excellence, which gives lots of examples of how project based learning can flourish using math and other subjects.
How do we inspire our younger generation to start using new technologies, learn creativity and critical thinking? Watch Mitch Resnik, talking from his platform, “Lifelong Kindergarten: Design, Play, Share, Learn” at Stanford. You might get some ideas for your elementary students in terms of using such amazing computer programming tools like Scratch.
I would love to hear how your students are using project based learning in their environment?
Blessings to you