Hands-on project based learning: the key to student engagement

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Hittel, Janelle
The purpose of this project is to look at ways to increase motivation and engagement of students and skill development that will help prepare students for the changing world. This project focuses on using a hands-on project based program which is framed around the PowerPlay Young Entrepreneur® model. Students explored the world of business and developed 21st century competencies as well as learning to be more socially responsible. The participants were grade 6 students which worked through a series of six lessons, starting their own business and gaining real-life experience. The plan pf the project was to be run with only minor modifications but upon completion of the project I realized that I needed to change my practice in strategy and perceptual focus. Project based teaching changes the focus from curriculum to the learner. I realized that in order for project based learning to be successful I needed to know my students. When I knew my students learning styles and ability levels I was able to differentiate instruction as well as being ready to accept a differentiated product from students. My plan is to share my learning with my colleagues and hopefully facilitate a greater awareness of the impact that hands-on project based learning has on student engagement. This would be a significant contribution to the body of knowledge around teaching and learning.
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