Planning a Project Based Learning Summer Camp

If your school offers summer programs for students, I highly recommend planning and implementing a summer project based learning camp. Beat the "summer slide" with motivating projects that include 21st Century Skills and curriculum standards. The Buck Institute for Education has a list of project based learning units that can be found on their website. If you're new to project based learning, BIE provides templates for planning your project. So, take the plunge and host your own project based learning summer camp.

Plan your own project based learning summer program. Keep students learning in a fun way with high-interest activities with 21st Century Skills and core standards.



When planning your summer project based learning camp, I have a few tips for a successful project.

1. Know Your Timeline

Since you are working with a limited time frame, your project may not be as comprehensive as one during school. Or, you may have more time during each day that you wouldn't have during the school year. Plan what your students will do each day so they will have time for research, collaboration, and to present their results.

2. Select a High Interest Problem or Challenge

It's important to select a driving question that grabs your students' attention from the very beginning. I suggest a local problem (Save the Monarchs) or challenge (Mini-Golf With STEM) so you have access to resources and students can make a difference. You will probably have different age levels, so you'll need to make sure the project is age appropriate. My project Open an Ice Cream Shop is an example of a project that would be of interest for any grade level. Younger kiddos may not have some skills needed for the project, so peer teaching comes in handy. Your older students will love helping the younger ones.

3. Gather Your Resources

What is your budget? Will you charge? If so, how much? Because you're working during a limited time, you need to have all resources available for the students.  I usually use Google Sites so I can add or delete sites that I want to use. Have books accessible to save time. Technology is incorporated throughout the project. Students will learn more about the research process and how to use technology as a tool for gathering information, communication, and  collaboration.

Plan your own project based learning summer program. Keep students learning in a fun way with high-interest activities with 21st Century Skills and core standards.

4. Plan a Field Trip and Outside Activities

Because you're working with fewer students, this will be a great opportunity to plan a field trip. I live in an area that has excellent nature centers, a major university, state organizations, and more. I always want my students to connect with an expert during a unit. By going on a field trip, students can ask important questions and make real-world connections. Get your students outside so they can conduct their investigations. They've been a classroom all year; your students want to be active. In my Open a Summer Camp, students design their ideal summer camp.

5. Be Flexible With Products (STEM)

Students' need time for final presentations. I suggest you use flexibility so they can be completed on time. And, you aren't as restricted during the summer, so you may be able to do more. Students can even become engineers as they complete their final product. I had one group present their proposal to our city council. It included spreadsheets, diagrams, a PowerPoint, and more. I was so impressed in how the students conducted themselves in front of the city officials.

If you would like to learn more about project based learning, try attending workshops sponsored by the Buck Institute. They host workshops all over the U.S.. I attended an event last year and it helped me in planning pbl. So, if you want to spark the curiosity of your students this summer and learn in a fun way, try planning a Summer Project Based Learning Summer Camp.

Plan your own project based learning summer program. Keep students learning in a fun way with high-interest activities with 21st Century Skills and core standards.

Drop by my Pinterest board to learn more about project based learning.


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