Working With Agencies and Groups
Civic learning and engagement projects should reach out to the community, but it’s easy to choose the wrong partners or involve too many groups. Before reaching out to potential partners, be sure that students have looked into the details to determine each potential collaborator’s history, mission and agenda. Then, help students think about which collaborators are a good fit for the project.
You may also want to take an active role in determining whether a particular collaborator is the right choice. Not every group works well with students. See the Involving Community Partners Checklist and the Y4Y Introduction on Strengthening Partnerships for more guidance.
High school students who ride their bicycles to school notice that part of the route is not bicycle friendly. They partner with a club of racing bikers and a general contractor to develop a plan and budget for widening the road to include a bike path, then submit their idea to the city council.
A group of fifth graders is heartbroken to learn that unwanted cats and dogs at the local animal shelter have to be put to sleep. The students work with the shelter staff to develop a public information campaign about spaying and neutering pets to keep down the numbers of unwanted pets.
Parks and Recreation Department
Third-grade students are concerned about how dark the nearby playground gets as evening approaches. They meet with the director of the Parks and Recreation Department to map out possible locations for new lights, and they research solar light options to present at the next appropriations meeting.
An elementary school student and her friend read a story that describes their town in times past, and they realize that most of their neighbors are not aware of the history. With the hope that residents will care more about the town if they are better informed, they work with the librarian to gather primary sources that reveal interesting bits of history, and then create colorful, eye-catching posters to display around town.
Church, Synagogue and Mosque
Some middle school students notice that their peers are making negative comments about a new family’s religious practices. They meet with various faith leaders in the community to organize and host a dinner at school. Here, students and their families come together and learn about other traditions and beliefs.
After a classmate loses his home to a fire, a group of sixth graders visit the fire station to learn about fire safety tips. They coordinate with the firefighters to run mobile fire safety education clinics in their community. The youth and the adults pair up to give tours of the fire truck to children while explaining potential fire hazards and how to avoid accidental fires.
A group of high school friends are planning for college and realize the costs associated with pursuing a higher education. Together with the corner bank, they organize a series of workshops for their peers to learn about saving, budgeting and loans. At each workshop session, young people can open a savings account and receive assistance with developing a saving plan.
A second grader visits his grandmother in a nursing home and is worried about the residents who do not receive many visitors. His afterschool program establishes a partnership for local college students to pair up with students in the elementary school and visit a nursing home resident every week. The pair always brings a recent newspaper to discuss current events so that the nursing home residents are informed of community issues.
Some eighth graders who live near a day care center are concerned about a recent outbreak of the flu among the young children there. They partner with a nearby health clinic to write songs and choreograph dances about handwashing and other tips to present to the children and their families.
A few students see a movie about a conflict abroad and feel great sympathy for the children who are caught in the middle. They organize a benefit concert with the local coffee shop, where they collect signatures for a petition to their congressional representative, asking her to propose a bill to send aid to families suffering in the conflict.
A middle school group is starting an organic garden to grow vegetables for the neighborhood’s homeless shelter to use in its meals. They convince a gardening center to provide starter seeds, garden tools and lumber for their raised beds.
- 2Key Terms
- 3Project-Based Learning Diagram
- 4What Makes a Good Project?
- 5Life Is Full of Projects
- 6Benefits of Projects
- 721st Century Skills
- 8Habits of Mind
- 9Projects or Activities?
- 10Project Kickoff
- 11Understanding Community Needs
- 12Become Active Investigators
- 13Engaging Students in Active Learning
- 14What Makes a Good Driving Question?
- 15Project Launch
- 16Learning by Doing
- 17Learning by Doing: Example
- 18Project-Based Learning in Action
- 19The Adult's Role
- 20Working With Diverse Student Groups
- 22Culminating Event Examples
- 23Time to Shine
- 24The Audience
- 25Document and Evaluate the Learning
- 27Civic Learning and Engagement Introduction
- 28Civic Learning and Engagement
- 29Committed to Positive Change
- 30Key Civic Terms
- 31A Special Kind of Project-Based Learning
- 32Civic Learning and Engagement in Action
- 33Encouraging Active Participation
- 34Building 21st Century Skills
- 35Linking With School-Day Civics
- 36Linking Civic Learning and Engagement With School-Day Learning
- 37Linking Skills and Academics With Civic Life
- 38Starting a Project
- 39Develop a Plan of Action
- 40Implement a Plan of Action
- 41Evaluate and Reflect
- 42Realizing the Results
- 43Learn More Library
- 46Check for Understanding
- 1Implementing Project-Based Learning
- 2Keep It Youth Centered
- 3Youth-Centered Coaching Moment
- 4Set Clear Goals and Objectives
- 5Goals and Objectives Coaching Moment
- 6Make it Doable and Sustainable
- 7Projects Over Time — Coaching Moment
- 8Facilitating Self-Directed Learning
- 9Self-Directed Learning Example
- 10Self-Directed Learning — Example 2
- 11Facilitation Strategies
- 12Think Globally, Act Locally
- 13Projects for Every Age
- 14Incorporate Multiple Perspectives
- 15Facilitation for Success
- 16Working With Agencies and Groups
- 17Demonstrate and Document Learning
- 18Demonstrate Learning — Coaching Moment
- 19Demonstrate Learning — Coaching Moment 2
- 20Pull It Together
- 21Additional Resources