At TeachThought, we’re huge fans of project-based learning.
While there is no magic bullet of practice, program, or framework that automatically produces progressive and effective learning, what makes project-based learning exceptional is its flexibility. As it is, first and foremost, simply a curriculum planning tool, so much other “good stuff” that can support learning (game-based learning, learning simulations, place-based education, self-directed learning, etc.) can all be “embedded” in project-based learning.
With PBL, there is no “either/or” proposition: anything from open-ended, play-based learning to data-driven, research-based instructional environments can all use PBL effectively.
While there are all kinds of great resources necessary to “run” PBL (including those from Edutopia.org), from apps to planning templates and more, the genesis of a great project is the idea itself–the purpose and/or audience of the project itself.
Below, we’ve shared dozens of ideas for projects, and we’re going to constantly update the list with new ideas, suggestions from our community, resources, etc. In that way, this page can become the ultimate guide for project-based learning in your classroom. The focus will be on the ideas for the projects themselves, but we’ll also include apps, tools, and other “stuff” you’ll need to effectively realize this approach in your classroom.
6 Posts To Get Started With Project-Based Learning
- The Difference Between Projects & Project-Based Learning
- 5 Types Of Project-Based Learning
- 11 Tools For Better Project-Based Learning
- 4 Keys To Designing A Project-Based Learning Classroom
- 23 Ways To Use The iPad In The 21st Century PBL Classroom
- 12 Timeless Project-Based Learning Resources
The Constantly-Updated List Of Ideas For Project-Based Learning
Note: This list will constantly be updated with new ideas, tools, and resources. As such, some fields will be empty, updated, or removed as we build and improve the list over time. Note that the list is intentionally not separated into “content areas,” as many of the projects could be approached from a number of angles (the math of design, the language of planning, and so on).
1. Idea: Create an interactive family tree with voice-overs from living family members, and added
Consider Using: VoiceThread, YouTube
2. Idea: Design an app with a specific purpose for a specific audience
3. Idea: Inventory the world’s most compelling apps in an elegant and browsable interface
4. Idea: Design a modern library using a problem-solution format, and annotate its critical features
5. Idea: Solve the problem of negative news
6. Idea: Using the best thinking of major world civilizations, design the perfect civilization. Identify critical characteristics, resources, and habits, etc.
7. Idea: Mash Reddit with facebook with YouTube (or any 3 social media channels)
8. Idea: Help local businesses increase environmental sustainability (e.g., reduce waste)
Audience: Your neighborhood, the businesses themselves
9. Idea: Identify, analyze, and visualize recurring themes in human history; then contextualize those themes in modern society
10. Idea: Make a compelling case of connectivism (student chooses “angle”: intellectual, recreational, etc.)
11. Idea: Make a compelling case for independence (student chooses “angle”: intellectual, recreational, etc.)
12. Idea: Leverage the wisdom of nursing homes
13. Idea: Artfully express, analyze the causes-effects of, or otherwise evaluate population growth
14. Idea: Debate the relationship between technology and humanity from a historical (Mary Shelley?) or modern (Steve Jobs?) perspective
15. Idea: Reverse global warming, or re-imagine major coastal cities in light of 6 degrees of warming
16. Idea: Measure the sociological impact of social media on local communities (using a self-selected parameter)
17. Idea: Design an alert system to halt the spread of deadly disease
Audience: Local, national, and international governments; local communities; medical professionals
Considering Using: Plague, Inc.
18. Idea: Plant and manage a garden to feed local homeless/hungry
19. Idea: Solve a personal problem. Brainstorm personal challenges by proximity to learner: first by individual, then family, neighborhood, city, state, and so on. Then have learner select one, design a scale for solving it, and sketch out a plan to make it happen.
20. Idea: Analyze the impact of great architecture–or lack thereof–on a community
21. Idea: Dissect the anatomy of viral web content
22. Idea: Help a local business that does “good work” market itself to younger audiences. Create a proposal, present to business, refine proposal based on feedback
23. Idea: Artfully illustrate the global history of civil rights
24. Idea: Visually demonstrate the galaxy’s behavior from changing a single parameter (e.g., the gravity level of a single planet)
Considering Using: The Universe Sandbox simulation
25. Idea: Design the next Google (the next method of content and data discovery)
26. Idea: Re-imagine a popular social media platform based on the success of another; carry design through to prototyping and/or marketing phase
27. Idea: Plan a Mars colony using current data of the Martian landscape and atmosphere
28. Idea: Create a photo documentary, then turn that into a film documentary, then turn that into a short eBook
29. Idea: Define, Analyze, and Visualize an Abstract Concept (Wisdom, Freedom, Conflict, etc.)
30. Idea: Develop a feasible response to potential asteroid–> earth collisions
31. Idea: Analyze the cause and effect of low voter turnout on both democracy, and the health of the local community
32. Idea: Re-imagine the American Constitution–or similar governing documents–as if they were designed today
33. Idea: Perform a cause-effect analysis on consumerism
34. Idea: Create and publish a weekly or monthly podcast on a self-selected topic based on market data
35. Idea: Film a documentary on an under-served social issue few people see
36. Idea: Imagine and articulate a community where neighbor-to-neighbor and neighborhood-to-neighborhood interaction was necessary to survive
37. Idea: Design a better physical book
38. Idea: Identify an emerging musical genre, write a song that fits in that genre, produce a video, design a website to promote it
39. Idea: Design a school, including new content areas, grading, collaboration, and community involvement
40. Idea: Create and manage a YouTube channel for a self-determined and authentic purpose
Considering Using: YouTube
41. Idea: Solve your parent’s problem of being too busy
Audience: Your parents, of course.
Consider Using: A mini-documentary, analytics, etc.
42. Idea: Analyze, visualize, and socialize the long-term impact of coal on the environment
43. Idea: Revise the United Nations in some way, shape, or form to better respond to international crises
44. Idea: Answer the following question: What would (insert historical figure here) say about (insert relevant social issue here)?
45. Idea: Re-conceive iTunes as an aggregation tool and player for traditional literary forms (e.g., poetry, fiction, etc.)
46. Idea: Redesign your city to reduce the need for extended commutes
47. Idea: Research all modern tools sued to provide clean water access, then design a better tool
48. Idea: Study local land regions and resources to identify a geological-based response to the Zombie Apocalypse
Consider Using: Google Earth