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Online Professional Learning and
Technical Assistance for
21st Century Community Learning Centers

Understanding Community Needs

Students cleaning

Authentic projects that are grounded in the community can engage students powerfully because such projects focus on issues that affect students and the people and places they care about.

Before deciding on a driving question, students can begin narrowing down a topic by considering community issues such as these:

  •  Neighborhood safety
  •  Access to parks, recreation centers, summer programs and open space
  •  Health and nutrition
  •  Environmental problems such as trash and pollution

Then, students can begin to narrow down a broader topic into a focused driving question. When you begin this process, make sure to use active engagement techniques such as anonymous votes, surveys or small-group discussion, which allow all students to have voice and choice without making anyone feel singled out or ignored.

Click on Engaging Students in Active Learning to see a video about how one group of students developed their own driving question based on a community issue.

My Notebook

Project-Based Learning

The Notebook is a useful way to jot down notes as you go through the various topics available on the You For Youth website. If you'd like to use the notebook, please sign in if you already have an account or register now to join the Y4Y community!


Project-Based Learning