100 Project-Based Learning Ideas for Every Age

“Everything begins with an idea.” – Earl Nightengale

When I started on my Project-Based Learning journey, I always wondered what other teachers were already doing with PBL in classrooms around the country and world. I remember joining Ning sites and finding other teachers who were doing PBL, it was like a dream come true to chat and discuss and learn.

With the growth of Twitter, blogging, and conference I was able to meet educators from around the world who have inspired me to go deeper into Project-Based Learning. Their ideas were what got me started documenting projects and step-by-step practices that would enhance any PBL experience.

PBL is growing because it engages and empowers students to learn experientially and share that learning in new and unique ways that go well beyond the classroom. Yet, many teachers are asking: How do we plan and implement PBL? How do we “fit it in” our current curriculum? How do we assess it using our current grading guidelines? How do we manage this type of learning?

These are all real concerns and questions that cannot be dismissed. PBL takes time to plan, implement, manage, and assess. Then it takes time to tweak, improve, and highlight. In my new book, The PBL Playbook, we dive into specific answers to all those questions, and what PBL looks like in each grade level and subject area!

The PBL Playbook is right for you if:

  • You are a teacher ready to move towards an authentic learning experience for your students.
  • You are a superintendent, district administrator, or principal who is leading a school through project-based learning.
  • You are a coach, staff developer, or teacher leader that wants to help guide colleagues into PBL with a game plan that works.
Oh, and I forgot to mention, The PBL Playbook is on a deal right now where you can get the book for FREE. That’s right, the first 5000 copies of the book will be given away free, and all you have to pay is the shipping to get it to your house.

Ideas to Get You Started

I’ve listed 100 PBL ideas below to help get you started on the project-based learning journey. The ideas below that are hyperlinked will send you to the project that is already developed. These 100 PBL experiences will be the first 100 projects created by our PBLK12 team and I can’t wait to share them out. In the meantime, use them to get inspired and give you some ideas to start PBL with your students.

Grades K-2

1. My Name Project
2. Town Hero Project
3. Better Playground Project
4. Catching the Tooth Fairy Project
5. Illustrate A Short Story Project
6. Tear-A-Scene Project
7. Build a Snowman Project
8. The Superhero Project
9. The First National Holiday Project
10. Make Your Own Animal Project

Grades 3-5

11. Life as a Rock Project
12. Natural Disaster Project
13. The Selfie Project
14. Pinball Machine Project
15. The Vacation Project
16. The Habitat Project
17. Create Your Own City Project
18. Carnival Games Project
20. Analog Oregon Trail Project

Grades 6-8 ELA

21. Book to Movie Project
22. The Storyboard Project
23. Press Release Project
24. Book-In-An-Hour Project
25. The Ultimate Debate Project
26. Junk Sculpture Project
27. Podcast Project
28. Live In Your Shoes Project
29. A Character on Social Media Project
30. Lit Circles Talkshow Project

Grades 6-8 Social Studies

31. Digital Voting Project
32. The Making of a U.S. President Project
34. Civil War Tour Guide Project
35. Unknown American Hero Project
36. Fallen Empire Project
37. History Bias Project
38. The Honor Code Project
39. The Cultural Exchange Project
40. The Constitution Right Now Project

Grades 6-8 Science

Grades 6-8 Math

51. Save the Family Business Project
52. Curveball/Whiffleball Project
53. Rollercoaster Tycoon Project
54. Raising of Chicago Project
55. Minigolf Project
56. Battlefield Project
57. Game of Life Project
58. Egg Drop Project
59. Create a Safari Project
60. The Basketball Shot Project

Grades 9-12 ELA

61. Lit Circles Reality TV Project
62. Photo Essay Project
63. The Novel Documentary Project
64. Character Cribs Project
65. Fiction Mirrors Reality Project
66. The Bystander Project
67. Dystopian vs Utopian Project
68. 10 Laws of Power Project
69. Dear Media Project
70. Fake News Project

Grades 9-12 Math

72. The Chunnel Project
73. Election Data Analysis Project
74. Amazon vs Apple Data Analysis Project
75. Google vs Facebook Data Analysis Project
76. Crypto vs Regular Currency Project
77. Making Sense of Nutrition Label Project
78. Rebuilding the Pyramid Project
79. Linear vs Exponential Technology Project
80. The Moneyball Project

Grades 9-12 Science

81. Rubber Band Car Project
82. Flat World Project
83. Rube Goldberg Project
84. Chemistry Mythbusters Project
85. Biology Mythbusters Project
86. Physics Mythbusters Project
87. Envi/Sci Mythbusters Project
88. The Waste Problem Project
89. DNA Barcoding Project
90. Tiny Theme Park Design Project

Grades 9-12 Social Studies

92. Become a Dictator Project
93. Time Machine Project
94. The Hamilton Project (using current language to tell a history)
95. The American Dream Project
96. The Making of a Revolution Project
97. The Role of Art Project
98. WWI Documentary Project
99. WWII Documentary Project
100. Cold War Spy Project

The PBL Playbook

I’ve written other education books, but The PBL Playbook is different. This book comes from a place of desperation and frustration. For years I’ve seen the transformative power of project-based learning experiences in my own classroom, in my colleagues’ classrooms, and in countless learning places around the world.

Yet, for many teachers, including myself, it can be almost paralyzing to start the work of moving away from how we’ve always taught. I’ve made the mistake of sometimes writing up in the clouds (theory) instead of in the dirt (practical). While this can help us understand the WHY (which is important) it leaves us wanting to know HOW.

This book is about the HOW.

You’ll get step-by-step ideas and strategies to implement in your role as a teacher, coach, or leader tomorrow. You’ll get ideas from over thirty different educators who were interviewed and share their PBL tactics and best practices. You’ll be able to apply this to your work, and most importantly to help transform the learning experiences our students have on a daily basis.

As a coach, I always believed that a playbook opened up the possibilities instead of limiting them. In The PBL Playbook, I hope to hit on that balance of providing enough guidance, support, and practical steps—while also allowing for the creativity and innovation inside each of you to shine through when designing, building, and running a project-based learning experience.

Are you ready to hit the ground running? Let’s get started!

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