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21st Century Community Learning Centers

Develop a Plan of Action

Step 4: Investigate the problem

Before students can begin to find a solution to their driving question, they need to deeply understand the problem. Through research and investigation, youth can grasp the root causes of a problem, appreciate its context and learn about some possible solutions.

Research and investigation can also reveal how other communities may have solved similar problems, thus informing student planning and linking them with a broader world. Try the Investigating Issues in Your Community tool to get going with research.

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Step 5: Develop a plan of action

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Based on what they discover through investigation and research, youth should develop a plan of action to detail the steps to take to address the driving question.

During this step, allow youth to take charge and formulate the plan of action based on their own knowledge and the project goals. As the facilitator, you will provide guidance and resources as they develop this plan.

Facilitation can take the form of offering specific tools or information (such as the name and phone number of a particular town official). It can also involve asking leading questions such as these:

  • What would happen if you did Y before X?
  • Can you think of any other group that might want to get involved? 
  • Is there a series of actions or steps that you might want to take in sequence to reach your goal?
  • Need more help?

Consider reviewing the Learning by Doing page.

The most helpful facilitation involves stepping away from the usual teacher or leader role and allowing students to figure things out for themselves, providing guidance when needed.

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Developing a plan of action may require students to take on the following tasks:

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  • Schedule project activities, planning meetings and a culminating event.
  • Budget and purchase materials.
  • Contact potential partners.
  • Revisit the driving question.
  • Adjust the original plan.
  • Form committees (see the Committee And Club Planning Worksheet ).
  • Determine how to divide tasks among a group.
  • Decide how to document the project and learning.

Use the Project-Based Learning Project Planner to organize your thoughts and prepare to facilitate the planning process for youth.

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!

Glossary

Project-Based Learning