With the new school year beginning, it is a great time to try to integrate project-based learning into existing tried-and-true lesson plans or newly updated curriculum.
Project-based learning is a hands-on approach to making learning meaningful to students, providing real-life context and relevance to subjects that students are studying, while keeping material on their appropriate level. With roots stemming from Confucius and Aristotle, who were “early proponents of learning by doing,” “students explore real-world problems and challenges.”
In Mind/Shift, How to Trigger Students’ Inquiry Through Projects, Jane Krauss and Suzie Boss provide an excerpt of their Thinking Through Project-Based Learning: Guiding Deeper Inquiry book, summarizing the steps toward planning project-based learning:
Step 1—Identify Project-worthy Concepts
Step 2—Explore Their Significance and Relevance
Step 3—Find Real-Life Contexts
Step 4—Engage Critical Thinking
Step 5—Write a Project Sketch
Step 6—Plan the Setup
Big Universe is a great support to project-based learning, and it is easy to integrate it into the classroom. Beginning with a plethora of choices, students can search for topiucs of interest within subjects: Social Studies, Science, Language Arts, and Math. First, the books support students narrowing down a given subject to a topic that is both interesting and relevant to the child. Add that the books are readily available at different levels, it is not hard to find the appropriate reading level.
Also, Big Universe enables students to digitally self publish, allowing students to show what they learned in a format that is easy to share with their classmates. With 179,868 digital books created by members to date, this feature is a hit with teachers and students alike.
One student-published book, Chemistry is Everywhere, is a great example of a student who explored a given science topic, and real-life learning culminated in a book that contains both facts that were learned and relevance to our daily lives. Let us know about your experience using Big Universe in your next Project-based learning unit.