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June 17, 2014

As the days grow warmer and your program transitions from school year to summer time activities, sometimes it can be a challenge to keep your students focused and engaged. Why not take advantage of all those distractions and build some activities around them?

Would they rather be outside having a picnic? Okay, think of all the great places that could lead to…

> Investigating the beneficial aspects of “picnic pests” like mosquitos, bees, and ants
> Exploring the fundamental benefits and dangers in sunshine
Learning the science behind making ice cream

This is just a small list of suggestions, but they demonstrate how easy it is to get started down the path to some fun and educational activities.

What are your students distracted by? Once you know that, you can develop some good driving questions that are relevant to their interests. Then you develop activities around those interests and that’s where the fun – and the learning – begins!

You can find more summer time tips and tools on Y4Y related to both STEM and Project-Based Learning. And don’t forget to share your ideas in the Discussion Boards! That’s a great place to ask your colleagues for suggestions or to share your stories after your projects are complete.



September 24, 2013

Project-based learning has been shown through research to be effective, and common sense tells us it’s something kids of all ages can enjoy. But what does it really look like? Watch this video to find out.

You’ll see many of the core tenets of project-based learning – a project that has relevance, is student-driven, addresses real-life problems, and offers hands-on learning opportunities. The youth in this video are responding to a real community challenge by becoming part of the solution.

The video serves as an introduction to the Project-Based Learning course. Get a glimpse of how the steps of project-based learning play out, then continue learning by completing the course.  



September 24, 2013

Because project-based learning is such a different method than what many of us are used to, it requires staff to wear a new hat: a facilitator’s hat. Facilitation is different from directing or leading and it allows for learning to be more student-centered.

Staff may need practice and support in this new role, though. Use this checklist from the Project-Based Learning Coaching Module to help staff feel at ease in the role of facilitator and to find ideas for getting project-based learning going with students.  



September 24, 2013

While staff are taking a step back and handing over the reins to youth when it comes to project-based learning, all projects should still be well thought-out and planned. A project is much more likely to lead to learning gains and be more fun if it is well-planned from the very beginning.

Not sure where to start? Use the Project-Based Learning Project Planner from the Y4Y Design Studio to help you get going. This tool guides you through all of the items that you need to think about to ensure a successful project.  



September 24, 2013

One of the greatest assets of the project-based learning approach is its contribution to building 21st century skills in youth – such as collaboration, time management, and public speaking. The best way to develop these skills is with an intentional focus, which demands that staff be aware of what 21st century skills are and deliberately plan programming to incorporate those skills.

If you’d like to set your staff up for success with 21st century skills, try this Training Starter for a staff development session. The Training Starter provides a framework for a training session and allows you to build out the rest with your own examples, activities, and timing.

Download the Training Starter as a Word document and fill in your ideas to make a ready-to-go training plan!