Project Approach

Project Approach

The Project Approach is a well-documented teaching methodology through which children are able to express their interests, expand their knowledge with developmentally appropriate activities and develop a sense of oneself and others around them. Because the process of teaching and learning is interactive, students feel highly motivated and involved in their own learning.At LCDS, teachers incorporate the Project Approach as part of their teaching strategies to guide the children through in-depth studies of areas of interest. Below are some examples of projects completed using the Project Approach.

Example 1 – Bridge Project (Kindergarten)

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The bridge project began after children took wooden hollow blocks from the classroom to the front playground’s sand box to assemble bridge-like structures during their outdoor play. We knew this was a project to explore.

Kindergarteners shared what they already knew about bridges and what they wanted to learn more about. We painted and built models/representations of bridges. We explored and learned about different types of bridges through books, videos, and science with Frank, as well as connected our bridge project to math and literacy. We sounded out words and wrote conventional words when creating labels for our bridge models. We expanded our vocabulary when learning about parts of a bridge and who builds bridges. We graphed how many we have of different types of bridges, as well as sorted a collection of bridge pictures into groups. We observed bridges from other parts of the country, as well as pretend played with bridge models.

Even after moving on to other projects throughout the year, making connections to bridges continued. Children would bring in pictures of bridges from their vacations, books on bridges, and continue to build in the block area.

Example 2 – Eagle/Seagull Project (Fours)

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This project began when a few of the children were playing with the forest animals and one became very attached to the eagle. We brought in some books about eagles and saw the children’s interest grow. So, at a group time, we asked the class what they knew about eagles and had them write it down, creating a web. We saw that some gave information about eagles and others gave information about seagulls. So we decided that we would do a comparison of eagles and seagulls, which eventually taught us a lot about those birds (and others) along with their nests.

As the investigation unfolded, we added new information to our web as well as what else the children wanted to know and kept it going until interest diminished. Our investigation lasted about a month.

Some of the activities completed during the project included:

  • We examined feathers in the classroom and under the microscope projector at science, learning about the parts of a feather: the quill/shaft, barbs, and barbules. They also drew feathers in their sketchbooks.
  • We learned about many different types of nests and habitats by looking at books, researching on the Internet and seeing real nests. The children were surprised that nests were only used to protect the eggs before hatching and that when baby birds are young, their nests aren’t their homes.
  • The children learned what materials birds used to make nests, then went outside to collect natural (and man-made) materials to make their own nests. Later they created birds with collage materials, play dough, etc. to go in their nests.
  • Lots of new vocabulary was introduced, including talons/webbed feet, eaglet/chick, aerie/nest, and binoculars. When the children told us about their nests, we saw many of them incorporate the new vocabulary.
  • In one of our comparisons, we used tape on our rug to measure out the average wingspan of an eagle and a seagull to visualize the difference. The children compared their own wingspan (finger tip to finger tip) and found that theirs was about the same as the seagulls.
Example 3 – Shark Project (Fours)

Picture 48a-1Our project on sharks was started by a class discussion about things we were interested in. One child mentioned sharks, and soon the whole class was talking and asking questions about sharks. That day, we jumped into doing a KWL web (know, want to know, learned). We placed research books in the library as well as read fiction books about sharks. Every time we read a book, we would revisit our KWL web and add things we learned. As we were learning about the different species of sharks, each child looked at a research book and drew their favorite shark.

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The children then labeled a shark with the correct body parts. All parts of the shark were labeled by the children. As the children gained more information, we learned the word “habitat”. One child suggested we make a shark habitat, which resulted in each child making his own shark and its habitat. The children first painted a shoebox, and after it dried, added details to their habits with glue and whatever they thought they needed. Some used sand, rocks, fish, etc. Once the habitat was completed, the children made their sharks out of clay. When the clay dried, the children painted their sharks. After the habitats were finished, each child presented their shark and habitat to the class.