Making learning intentional
Academically rigorous projects are framed around a core of academic learning.
To create this project framework it is essential for a teacher to:
In Living History Day learn how academics at Milwaukie High
School in Milwaukie, Oregon are woven into yearlong preparations for a Veteran's
Day event that involves the entire school.
- Determine the core content and process skills that students must master to be competent in the academic area.
- Identify and create an instructional sequence that enables students to comprehend academic concepts and skills, and apply them.
- Integrate the concepts into the project topic and work.
- Link the concepts across disciplines.
Applying academic concepts
Academically rigorous projects create a dynamic purpose for learning by tying
core content to real-world applications and problem solving situations. To
provide students with a reason to master the content and skills of an academic
In eco-mania, learn how Redwood High School students in Larkspur, California produced a play and an audiograph to bring hard questions about environmental conservation to a national audience.
- Create essential questions that relate academic concepts to practical problem solving and realistic outcomes.
- Sequence opportunities for students to apply academic concepts in increasingly complex situations that integrate content from a variety of areas.
Arranging learning tasks
An important aspect of an academically rigorous project is ensuring that learning tasks are structured to support academic goals.
To achieve this it is important to identify in every task both the learning objective and the means of achieving it.
This can be accomplished through:
In the Aquarium Project, see how students from the Bilingual Orientation Center in Seattle, Washington used group projects in art, English, social studies, and science as a catalyst for developing and practicing the basic skills necessary to transition to area middle school and high schools.
- Assignments and coursework that pinpoint the expected academic learning
goal and identify how that goal is promoted through the project.
- Support assignments with an explanation of their place in the learning process.
- Demonstration of how coursework serves as catalyst for growth in thinking, content knowledge, skills, and/or process.