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October 21, 2016

3 min

Mark Holley

Is Project Based Learning The Answer For My Middle School Student?

When you choose a middle school for your student, you want to choose a school that is well suited to their needs. Middle school is a critical time in the academic of many students. A project based middle school offers a number of advantages that you should carefully consider.

Hands-on Learning is of Immense Benefit to Many Students

Sitting in a classroom, listening to a teacher lecture, works well for students who have an auditory-based learning style, but it's not always the best method for others. Through project based learning, students are able to work directly with many of the things they're learning about. This hands-on learning style works well for students who don't learn well in traditional classrooms as well as those who are more active or who prefer to do more in-depth research and exploration.

Students Learn Creative Thinking

Developing creative thinking skills is a critical facet of education that is often missing from more traditional educational settings. Through project based learning, on the other hand, students are able to explore creative problem solving and develop creative thinking skills that will allow them to adapt to a variety of situations and more effectively navigate unfamiliar situations. Rote memorization has its time and place, but project based learning allows students to learn more than single pieces of information: they're exposed to methods that teach them how to approach potential problems.

Students Develop Deeper Understanding

There's nothing like project based learning to give students a deeper understanding of the material they're studying. Through this learning style, students are able to immerse themselves in the material. They can go deeper, expand their knowledge, and develop a more expansive understanding of the subject material. And, students can ge this deeper knowlege on even simple, short-term projects (at Method we refer to these as short run projects).

Technology Use Is Increased

Today's students will graduate into a world that expects them to know how to use a variety of different technologies. From knowing how to effectively create presentations to developing the skills necessary to write research papers and utilize other important styles of technology, students who attend project based middle schools will develop a deeper understanding of the technology that they'll put to use throughout the rest of their lives. At Method, we combine project based learning with online content from FuelEducation and Compass Learning. The results are impressive, with the average Method student showing 1.3 years of academic growth in a single year.

Student Engagement Increases

In a traditional classroom, many teachers are lucky if half of their class is paying attention. They're doodling on their worksheets, texting under their desks, and generally ignoring the teacher in favor of their own daydreams. This happens with online learning as well (as a hybrid online/offline school, our teachers can attest to this). With project based learning, students are actively involved in the entire process. They're able to pursue their own thoughts, handle the materials involved, and deepen their research according to their needs, goals, and desires. This style of learning is of incredible benefit to many students, especially those who have trouble learning in a more traditional classroom.

Teacher Engagement Matters, Too

There's something very satisfying about teaching a class that's engaged in project based learning. Many teachers have seen that advantage and turned to this style of teaching, alleviating their boredom along with their students'. Instead of doing the same thing year after year, teachers are able to more effectively tailor instruction to not only meet state standards but also meet the needs of the individual students in the classroom.

If you're looking for a different way for your student to learn, project based middle school might just be the answer. This style of learning is more engaging, more effective, and better at addressing the particular needs of students, particularly those are willing to give it the effort that it deserves. This more detailed approach to education will take many students further, particularly as it gives them the tools that they need to succeed outside the classroom.

Learn More

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