How do students engage in project work? Students engage in project work in various ways. Often, the topic guides teachers in how work unfolds. For example, a topic may allow children to pursue individual interests by themselves or work with others. An entire class may pursue an aspect of a topic over an extended period of time or features within a topic may be divided among the class depending upon interest.
A desire in any project work is to have children interact with others outside of the immediate school or classroom. For example, field trips to sites or places that relate to the topic, interviews with experts in the field, visits to museums or other cultural institutions all count as possible ways to extend learning beyond the classroom.
Another feature of engaging students in project work is the collection of artifacts, which may include the analysis and documentation of resources and materials related to the topic. For example, a visit to a recording studio, in a project devoted to music as entertainment that includes the acquisition of a copy of Billboard's Top 40 can serve as an important artifact for analyzing the relationship between on air time and the popularity of a particular singing group.
Exhibitions that occur near the end of a project can serve as culminating experiences that synthesize all the various ways the students have been engaged in a particular project.
The most powerful ways that engage students in project work always take into consideration Vygotsky's view that all knowledge is socially constructed. Thus, an important principle to keep in mind while designing a project and creating opportunities for students to engage in it is that learning from a more knowledgable other (a parent, older sibling, a peer, etc...) is fundamental in the construction of knowledge.