Around the world millions of students are now adjusting to learning from home, while parents are transitioning into front line teachers.
In the US, some states are creating distance learning opportunities to replicate a school-like environment, while others are providing guidance focusing on enrichment activities. For either approach, hands-on activities are the best way to create a conducive learning environment. Such activities allow for student individual learning needs to be met, with fewer time constraints to complete the task.
As a parent who has experienced the challenges of homeschooling, I have seen that student learning can be enhanced at home by doing projects. In projects, students learn by asking deep questions and investigating what truly interests them, which align well with Common Core Standards’ emphasis on research and analysis.
To help you navigate the new normal, here are three engaging projects I’m doing at home with my children, which can accommodate students with many different learning styles.
About a week ago my youngest daughter asked, what is the purpose of the 2020 Census? I thought that investigating this question would be a great way to expand upon the history of our community. The objective of the project will be for the children to persuade their parents on whether to complete the census form.
In planning this project, I visited the Census.gov website. This resource teaches students and parents why everyone should respond to the 2020 Census, and explains how it will help shape the future of their communities for the next 10 years. Included on the site is New Statistics in Schools (SIS), where there are K-12 classroom activities and materials that spotlight the 2020 Census.
Start a Business
Many stores are feeling the demands of keeping supplies on shelves while families are at home. The goal of this project is to have students figure out what they could produce and sell. They would need to decide what supplies to buy, and calculate how much money will be made from the sales to determine if the business will be successful or not.
There are many moving parts to starting a business, and lots of research to consider. The PBLWorks project Starting a Business can be used as a resource if needed. Allow students to present their business plan to parents or make a video proposal to send to friends.
Grow a Garden
There are many skills students can master in this project, and content knowledge they can gain. This nature inspired project encourages students to learn about their natural environment and gain a greater understanding of sustainability. It is important to first educate yourself on the journey. For inspiration you can review this elementary video of kindergarteners making a garden.
Students can learn about the different features of plants such as color, growth, texture, etc. They can also use a journal to record different observations of changes to the plants and the maintenance needed for the care of the plants. As a challenge the family can create a beautiful garden outside.
These projects could easily connect the learning to the parent’s and student’s background knowledge and extend into other objectives to produce a higher level of learning.