Why projects?

Projects energize and engage students by anchoring academic content within a larger context. As students engage with the project, they develop a felt need to learn the concepts and skills that will be help them in completing the project.

The 5 Ps of PBL

Have you ever heard the term PBL? In the world of education, PBL has traditionally referred to project-based learning. While IDE has always used PBL to mean problem-based learning, Dr. Nancy Sulla recently described additional uses of PBL in a blog post.


  • Engage students in a real-world, authentic problem like developing a plan for saving a species from extinction or designing a product to help disabled veterans


  • Students follow their passions with the pursuit-based task.


  • Academic content is connected to an end project such as an original work of art, a vertical garden, or new board game


  • Student solve a problem or complete a project specific to an existing or future occupation. They might develop a portfolio to become a Disney Imagineer or design a new cell phone application.


  • Students create something that impacts a specific location such as the local library, their school, or other community area.

Project Ideas

Elementary School:

  • Create an interactive family tree.

  • Become an author and/or illustrator.

  • Create a board game.

  • Plan, write, and develop a movie, television show, cartoon, or play.

  • Design something to help themselves or their family.

  • Show community helpers their appreciation.

Middle School:

  • Create a picture project telling a family story.

  • Tell a story about a time in history through an interactive map using Google Slides, PowerPoint, or other platform.

  • Design a plan to stay active and healthy.

  • Design a vehicle of some sort that can move and hold another item.

  • Write and illustrate a children’s book.

  • Create and implement a menu highlighting the food of another culture.

High School:

  • Determine the best sources for information regarding COVID-19.

  • Write and illustrate a dystopian graphic novel.

  • Create a campaign to support first-responders and medical personnel during the pandemic.

  • Design a project for younger children.

  • Create a video blog showcasing special skills or abilities.