Project based learning (or PBL) is great to teach year round, but is an especially fun end of the year math activity for students! End of the year is stressful, you may be testing or planning an elementary school graduation ceremony. Project based learning (or PBL) is great to teach year round, but is an especially fun end of the year math activity for students! For example, this plan a vacation math project is perfect for the last month of school! I started implemented with 5th grade students, but these activities are great for any upper elementary students. Here are my top three reasons I love teaching PBL at the end of the year! Learn more math engagement strategies for upper elementary here.
1. Student Engagement
If your students have never had project based learning, the first thing to do is introduce it to them. In this PBL, I let the students know they are going to create their own pizza restaurant. Ask your students guided questions such as “What kinds of things do you think a business owner needs to plan?” “What are the types of items you would buy for a pizza restaurant?” “How much do you think you’d charge for pizza? Why?” Your students will be SO EXCITED they aren’t just completing the average worksheets.
2. Differentiation and Extra Review
My classrooms are always diverse, so I’ve created my lessons to span 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade math standards. I’ve grouped my students off into different groups so I can easily divide which groups may need additional support during the activity. Here you can see two different versions of the same activity – one is multiplying with whole numbers, and one multiplying with decimals. All of my students are able to complete this math enrichment project, but I’ve adjusted the content to best support everyone! This is a great opportunity to review material with students that need support, while pushing everyone to achieve at their own level.
3. Let Your Students Be Creative!
The best thing about project based learning is your students’ engagement levels and creativity. When they are engaged they may ask to extend the opportunity further than just the project allows – if you have time, I say YES! Enrichment activities should not only be for gifted students. That is my personal teaching philosophy. I’ve added “Create Your Own Ad” sections to my Pizza PBL activity so my students are all able to feel creative. These projects make AMAZING End Of The Year Open House activities!
In conclusion, I love teaching project based learning year round – but especially at the end of the year! If it’s the end of the year for you, you may also be interested in my summer self care challenge for teachers.