Build-A-Project Studies

Build-A-Project Studies

Build-A-Project is a limited unit study type of resource that can be used with students in kindergarten through tenth grade. Written by Nancy Mikhail, an experienced educator and advisor, these individual project-based studies have detailed information for those desiring to know and meet the educational standards. Build-A-Project has a variety of these studies for different subject areas, and most studies address educational standards for more than one subject area.

All of the studies are written to be used with multiple age groups, such as grades K-2, 3-7, and 6-9. This makes it easy for parents to teach children together who are at different grade levels.

Nineteen project studies are available as we write this review with titles (and suggested grade levels) such as Engineer Design & Growth Mindset (K-5), Astronomy (2-6), Anatomy & Nutrition (2-6), Building A Circuit (5-9), Native American (3-6), Weather Project (K-2), Business Plan Project (3-10), and James and the Giant Peach Project and Novel Study (3-6). Each study should take about one month to complete, although you could stretch them out over more time. The studies are all available individually as downloadable PDFs, and some of them are also available in discounted bundles.

The goal of the Build-A-Project studies is to get students thinking and creating by including hands-on projects. These studies are very well laid out with everything explained and listed at the very beginning of each one. Students will use the printable activity pages included within each study. Most of them are appealingly illustrated, and some serve as graphic organizers or activity templates. These pages serve as great reinforcements for the lessons. You can easily print out as many copies of each activity sheet as you need.

These project studies have embedded links to videos and specific websites that are extremely helpful. There are also lists from which to choose books to read along with each project. Several projects have students present information in front of an audience, teaching them how to make simple presentations. This helps students build confidence for making public presentations.

While each study has checklists, reading suggestions, video links, and a list of learning goals, the projects differ a great deal, offering multiple learning situations and addressing different learning styles. They might involve research and writing (especially for older students), artwork, construction, drawing, and other types of activities. Quite a bit of adult supervision is needed for younger students when creating projects (e.g., a solar system or an electric circuit), but less adult involvement is needed for older students.

More details on the weather and engineering studies should give you a better idea of how these project studies work.

Weather Project

The Weather Project, written for kindergarten through second grade, addresses standards for science and English literacy. Students will learn about different types of weather, learn about the seasons, write about the weather, do a presentation, and build a structure to avoid heat.

Students begin by watching a video and completing a few activity worksheets. They will complete a weather journal for a few days by drawing what they wear each day, circling words (e.g., hot, warm, or cold), and filling in just a few blanks with the date, the temperature, and a one-word prediction for the next day. The weather journal includes a worksheet that asks students to write one to four sentences about the day’s weather and another worksheet that asks them to write one to three things they have learned about weather. (These might be dictated for the parent to write down.) The weather journal concludes with a page that serves as a “weather wheel.” You will need to construct the weather wheel by inserting a brad or something smaller through the arrow that will sit atop the quadrants showing different types of weather.

Brief information and vocabulary words (on flashcards) can be presented to the student. Students also watch a video about the seasons, listen to brief information read to them from the study guide, and color a “seasons” page. Students will prepare and present a weather report. Questions on a worksheet guide them through preparation for the brief presentation.

Three fun projects—Shaving Cream Rain, Wax Paper Painting, and a project with markers and paper towels— lead up to the final project of building a structure to avoid heat. The structure might be constructed with popsicle sticks, a shoebox, cloth, or other resources you are likely to have around the house.

A suggested 22-day schedule is near the end of the study, but you can use most of the activities in whatever order you please.

Engineer Design & Growth Mindset

In Engineer Design &Growth Mindset for kindergarten through fifth grade, students learn about engineering and also meet some of the standards for language arts, science, and literacy. For the project, students have a list of four from which to choose, with the projects presented as “problems to solve.” Students will use their engineering skills and creative thinking to come up with a solution——and maybe even build it or put in into action. The four projects are inventing a tool to help clean up toys, creating a supply organizer, inventing a new toy or game, and designing a clubhouse. Reproducible worksheets are included for working through the project. There’s a gameboard for students to use as they complete each planning worksheet and share their project. The gameboard is actually a checklist presented in a game format. (All materials for the game are printable.) Details like this make these projects fun for students to tackle.

Parental Supervision

Although this curriculum is neutral for the most part, it is important to note that in the Native American Tribe project students will be selecting library books or searching online for information about a particular tribe they choose to study. Similarly, the Astronomy Project has links to websites that mention the age of the universe and solar system being billions of years old. Potential problems might crop up in the links that are embedded in the studies, and others might arise if the student is doing research. So it’s really up to parents to guide students if they have concerns about the information to which they will be exposed.

Summary

Build-A-Project studies are well-written and engaging for multiple ages, and they cover a variety of topics, especially in science. These hands-on studies should be great for students with a wide variety of learning styles.

Reviewed by Nikki Farmer and Cathy Duffy

Pricing Information

When prices appear, please keep in mind that they are subject to change. Click on links where available to verify price accuracy.

$8 and up per study

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Instant Key

  • Need For Parent or Teacher Instruction: high
  • Learning Environment: one-on-one or small group
  • Grade Level: grades K-10
  • Educational Methods: traditional activity pages or exercises, research, real books, oral presentations or recitations, multisensory, lots of variety, highly structured, hands-on, drawing activities, creative activities
  • Technology: PDF, online
  • Educational Approaches: unschooling or relaxed homeschooling, unit study, eclectic
  • Religious Perspective: secular

Publisher's Info

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