At HomeAmanda Vaden
Students work together to build an invention on top of a Sphero RVR robot.

Here at Sphero, we absolutely love project-based learning. We keep it top of mind when developing new educational tools and make activities and games that actively encourage it. Our passion for project-based learning makes us excited to share our knowledge with readers during the quarantine. 

As you think of ways to keep your kid stuck at home engaged during the day, consider making project-based learning a priority. This kind of learning will help your kid remain active throughout the day while developing important 21st century skills. 

With summer break quickly approaching, there’s never been a better time to learn about project-based learning so you can begin doing it in your home. Here’s what you need to know. 

What is project-based learning? 

Project-based learning is a hands-on teaching method that uses real-world topics to engage students and facilitate learning about concepts and new ideas. It’s a student-centered approach to teaching that puts students in the driver’s seat. Give your student a meaningful real-world problem to work on and encourage them to solve it using their own knowledge and skills. That’s project-based learning in a nutshell.  

What’s a project-based learning example? 

Here’s what this looks like in practice. Students will spend time working on a project — oftentimes for a week or more — that requires them to problem-solve real world issues or answer complex questions. They’ll usually collaborate with classmates and perform additional research to eventually figure out a solution. They’ll then show off their knowledge or skills in a presentation to others. This kind of approach to teaching fosters creativity, communication, and other important 21st century skills. 

What are the benefits of project-based learning? 

Project-based learning helps students develop the skills they’ll need in future careers. It also gives teachers and parents tons of opportunities to connect course content to students’ interests and make the material more relatable. 

Not every child learns best by sitting in lecture-format classes for hours on end. Project-based learning increases kids’ engagement and sparks their creativity while helping them retain the material well into the future. For example, a 2020 research report found that teachers with exposure to science & technology education during their own early education showed more confidence when teaching it to students years later. This is the kind of knowledge that project-based learning fosters.  

Where can you practice project-based learning? 

Any educational setting will work — at home, in the classroom, on the computer. While project-based learning is usually most effective in the classroom when led by a teacher, parents can and should incorporate project-based learning into their kid’s schedule this summer. Parents can help their kids avoid stay-at-home boredom using project-based learning while completing educational activities. 

Here’s how to get started.  

At-home project-based learning activities 

While the pandemic may have disrupted many people’s summer plans, parents can still use project-based learning activities to make their kid’s summer more exciting while at home. Here are three projects you can use to supplement your kid’s learning this summer.  

1. Host a virtual science fair 

Pick a real-world topic and give your kid a list of related science experiments. Using everyday objects, encourage your kid to choose their favorite experiments or make their own experiments. Have your kid record themselves performing the experiments and share the videos with friends and family to recreate the experience of attending a science fair.  

2. Create an at-home cooking show 

Healthy eating is an important habit to develop as early as possible. With this in mind, you can help your kid discover how to eat healthy while learning about biology and food science by using this play-based learning activity. 

Instead of giving your kid a list of healthy and unhealthy ingredients to memorize, have them plan a dinner menu for the family over the next week. Provide them with general guidelines like diet restrictions and calorie requirements. Doing this will give them hands-on experience reading nutrition labels and using them to make healthy choices. Then you can film your kid preparing the meal while explaining why they made the decisions they did. Share this with friends and family and promote your own at-home cooking show! 

3. Create a literary playlist 

Music is everywhere, and it’s helpful for kids to develop a diverse taste in music during their early years. Pick a book on your kid’s summer reading list and encourage them to create a literary playlist.  

 In this project, kids will read through their book and create a playlist to accompany the narrative beats. This playlist should mirror the development of characters or their setting throughout the story. Have your kid browse music streaming platforms to create the playlist, then share it with friends and family to listen along.   

Use Sphero's educational tools to supplement project-based learning 

Parents can also use Sphero's educational tools and games this summer to give their kid endless learning opportunities through project-based learning. Kids can complete educational games and STEAM activities that’ll spark their creativity while helping them develop valuable skills. Completing projects with our tools introduces students to cutting-edge technology in exciting new ways. Here are three ways you can incorporate Sphero into your summer plans.   

1. Learn how to code using Sphero robots 

It's no secret that many kids would rather play games on their phones instead of completing their homework. By introducing them to beginner programming concepts with Sphero Mini, they can do both. Once students gain an understanding of how to use Sphero robots to code, they can put their skills to the test and design their own games.   

2. Create your own inventions with littleBits 

Kids can use littleBits to turn their ideas into reality this summer. Kids can use the snappable building blocks to design objects and make their own inventions. Start with the Rule Your Room Kit and keep building from there!  

With littleBits, your kid will develop important STEM skills while having fun. 

3. Join the Sphero Global Challenge 

You can also start getting your kid excited about the Sphero Global Challenge, taking place this fall. The Sphero Global Challenge is the ultimate STEM competition and an opportunity for kids to go deeper with computational thinking, engineering, and programming skills. You can read this competition overview and begin preparing for the competition now.  

Project-based learning with Sphero 

You can keep your kid active and engaged this summer through project-based learning. Completing these activities will help your kid pursue their interests and gain new skills. It’s a no-brainer! If you’re interested in ways that Sphero can make project-based learning easier and more fun, you can browse our full collection of at-home education tools. 

Roll into summertime with Sphero! 

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