Using Homework Projects to Extend Learning
I’m writing today about a couple of resources I created a while back that really helped push my science and social studies instruction over the top. I was struggling to get all of the content into a relatively short science and social studies block, so I decided to craft some bigger projects that could be done as homework.
I was a little worried at first, because I wasn’t sure if all of my students would have the supports they needed at home to complete the project, but parents ended up getting really into these projects and making them even bigger successes. Honestly, I think these were much more successful than a normal elementary homework assignment.
As a trade off, I reduced our other homework during this time, and I gave students about a month to complete each project. Then, we essentially took an hour of class to do a gallery walk and ask about each others’ projects. Engagement was very high!
My favorite project was this simple machine project where students were asked to build a Rube Goldberg device. The videos and contraptions that showed up were incredible! It was clear my students had a firm grasp of simple machines. If this sounds fun to you, this resource is available for FREE on my Teachers Pay Teachers store here.
I also created another project about European explorers. This project required students to build a treasure chest of artifacts all related to one explorer they had researched. I liked this project too, because I felt there was a lot of arts integration and students really had a lot of choice in what the final product looked like. Again, this FREE resource is available on my Teachers Pay Teachers store here.
If you have any questions about these resources, please don’t hesitate to reach out! I feel like this concept of a longer-term homework project is rarely used in elementary school, but I had so much success with it. I’m trying to think up what to do next!
If you like this idea, but the topics above don’t apply to your standards, I encourage you to download these projects just to get a sense of their outlines and then come up with parameters of your own that would apply to a concept you’re teaching!
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