(The following overview was taken from http://www.project-approach.com/ – 06/06)
A project is defined as an in-depth investigation of a real world topic worthy of children’s attention and effort. The study may be carried out by a class or a small group of children. They usually do not constitute the whole educational program.
The project approach is not unstructured. There is a complex but flexible framework with features that characterize the teaching-learning interaction.
There are three basic phases in the life of a project and each offers its own distinctive opportunities for children to represent their understanding. Throughout the project they can draw, paint, discuss, dramatize, write, collect data, count, measure, calculate, predict, construct models, draw diagrams, make graphs, record observations, read for information and for pleasure, sing songs and play music, and many other things. They can show their understanding at the beginning of the study, as it develops through research, and as they look back on the most memorable aspects of the work completed.
Phase I: The children recall past experiences and represent memories of relevant events, objects and people.
Phase II: The children have new experiences and investigate, draw from observation, construct models, observe closely and record findings, explore, predict, experiment and invent, discuss and dramatize. It is mainly in this phase that longer term, multi-stage project work is undertaken.
Phase III: The children review the work they have done, summarize, and recite it in a new form to represent for another audience what they have achieved as a class. They also do more imaginative work, representing new information acquired in Phase II in original and personal ways.