ERIC Number: ED424031
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Oct
Issues in Selecting Topics for Projects. ERIC Digest.
Katz, Lilian G.; Chard, Sylvia C.
Unlike units and themes in the early childhood and primary curriculum, projects are defined as children's in-depth investigations of various topics--ideally, topics worthy of the children's time and energy. As increasing numbers of teachers and school districts incorporate project work into their curriculum, questions have been raised about what to consider when selecting project topics. This Digest addresses the main issues and suggests a list of topic selection criteria. General factors to consider in selecting topics include: (1) characteristics of the particular group of children; (2) the geographic context of the school; (3) the school's wider cultural community; (4) the availability of relevant local resources; (5) the topic's potential contribution to later learning; and (6) the teacher's own knowledge of the topic. Using children's interests as a starting point in topic selection may lead to choosing appropriate topics, but this approach also presents several potential pitfalls. There are also problems associated with choosing exotic or fanciful topics. A topic is appropriate if: (1) it is directly observable in the children's own environments; (2) it is within most children's experiences; (3) first-hand direct investigation is feasible and not potentially dangerous; (4) local resources (field sites and experts) are favorable and readily accessible; (5) it has good potential for representation in a variety of media; (6) parental participation and contributions are likely, and parents can become involved; (7) it is sensitive to the local culture as well as culturally appropriate in general; (8) it is potentially interesting to many of the children, or represents an interest that adults consider worthy of developing in children; (9) it is related to curriculum goals and standards of the school or district; (10) it provides ample opportunity to apply basic skills; and (11) it is optimally specific--not too narrow and not too broad. (LPP)
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, Champaign, IL.