How to Create a Project
If the important parts of Project Based Learning are engagement, real life learning and utilizing the required standards then it is necessary to have a project that is exciting and well planned from the beginning to end.
Decide the standards and topic that you wish to cover. Projects tend to take up a significant period of time so if you see potential in combining two units it will be beneficial to time constraints. Check the link below to reference your specific standards.
Determine if another subject can be included for the topic. If other classes or teachers can participate it will open the topic to a wider understanding of the material and help with time constraints. It will also be a benefit to have another teacher supporting what you are teaching and to try this out together. Use the standards linked above to see what other classes might be a benefit.
All the times your students have said "But when are we even going to use or need this?" here is your chance to show them! You need to choose a real life application for your topic. The topic needs to excite the students and be culturally relevant, age appropriate, and something that feels personal. The website linked below gives a few examples of projects at every grade level. Your project should be created through a problem that your students will solve! Even if your problem is to have them create something, it should be worded in a way that clearly defines and overall problem that needs to be worked through.
Now time for the "hook". Day 1 will always be one of the most important days for Project Based Learning. This is where you get your students excited about a project that will most likely not be easy. The more excited they are the easier it is for them to get through the time and energy they spend on the same topic. There are many ways to do this whether it is simply a fake letter from Toys R Us asking the students to design toys or a fake announcement saying there is an asteroid about to hit earth. Below is a link of a class where they were about to discuss bacteria. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bx1MiPIL1XqaY2tULVByRWRMY1E/view
On the same google doc that you have pasted your concept map to create a fake letter for the introductory or your project. Make sure that it looks as realistic as possible.Below is an example. https://docs.google.com/a/troy.k12.ny.us/document/d/1VVAKkcwI_n7lqWhOzL4MJzmY1Y1d9Nhqe9CLu06MPXg/edit?usp=sharing