ERIC Number: ED368509
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Apr
The Project Approach. ERIC Digest.
Katz, Lilian G.
A project is an in-depth investigation of a topic worth learning more about, usually undertaken by a group of children within a class. The goal of a project is to learn more about a topic rather than to find answers to questions posed by a teacher. Project work is complementary to the systematic parts of a curriculum. Whereas systematic instruction helps children acquire skills, addresses children's deficiencies, and stresses extrinsic motivation, project work provides opportunities to apply skills, addresses children's proficiencies, and stresses intrinsic motivation. Projects differ from themes, which are broad topics such as "seasons," and units, which consist of preplanned lessons and activities on particular topics. In themes and units, children usually have little role in specifying the questions to be answered as the work proceeds. This is not the case in projects. Activities engaged in during project work include drawing, writing, reading, recording observations, and interviewing experts. Projects can be implemented in three stages. In Phase 1, "Getting Started," the teacher and children select and refine the topic to be studied. Phase 2, "Field Work," consists of investigating, drawing, constructing models, recording, and exploring. Phase 3, "Culminating and Debriefing Events," includes preparing and presenting reports of results. These characteristics of projects are exemplified in a project in which kindergartners collected 31 different types of balls. After collecting the balls, the class examined various characteristics of the balls, such as shape, surface texture, circumference, composition, weight, resistance, and use. This project involved children in a variety of tasks and gave children the opportunity to learn a new vocabulary as their knowledge of a familiar object deepened. (BC)
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education, Urbana, IL.