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Week 4C (Oct. 18- Oct. 24)- Project-based Instruction and Engagement

Finally, a third and final lesson design that I would like us to look at is Project-based Instruction.  In project-based instruction students might be working on a problem (similar to process-based math instruction) but a product or project is expected to be created at the end of the inquiry.  So students are learning by doing and making, and teachers are assessing learning by a final product.

Here is a piece that gives an overview of what the essential elements of project-based instruction might look like.

Project-based Learning Space copyright Houghton Mifflin Company

What are the aspects or elements of engagement that are used in this sort of instruction?  What aspects or elements of engagement may be less important, or unimportant in this sort of instruction? Share your thinking in our discussion comment area for this task.

Task Discussion

  • Jessica Powell   Nov. 8, 2011, 12:41 a.m.

    In the project-based learning space, there are definitely many elements of student engagement required for a successful project. Once again, teachers need to be aware of how to properly model what they want to teach students. However, this model presented more of a group project model. It made the students in charge of researching material, if it meant that the student was required to not only find the research but then teach it to the class. This definitely means that students gather ownership for these mini-lessons that they are creating and then teaching. If students are allowed to pick their own topics, then it creates and even greater sense of ownership. Students are allowed to take control of their own learning.

    While I do like the idea of students picking their own topics and then teaching it to the class as this promotes students being engaged in what they learn, it also makes me wary on some levels. Having been in situations where I work in a group yet end up doing all the work, I am the only one in the group that benefits from this project. The other students who are less motivated can then push off their responsibility to someone else who will do their work because they don't want to fail or get in trouble.

    It takes quite a bit of time to prepare these types of lessons because as the teacher, I need to make sure that the students still use the class time appropriately to research things that are necessary or that still relate to the class. In order to do this, this requires that all students will actually do the work. When it is not possible to engage students despite other attempts, it can hurt the other students in the class.

    On the flip side, when it does work, it is effective because students are more likely to remember things they have spent time researching and creating on their own rather than what I have picked out to teach them.

    (Also, is there an updated model of this? As it stands, it is around 17 years old as it states the 1994 Geographic is recent...)