A Year-Long Project:  Constructivism in Action

inquiry projects ... problem-based projects ... concept-based projects

Exciting News! I will be teaching the Civilization Project again during the 2012-2013 school year! I will post updated and new resources here as well as create a blog about the experience, insights, and reflections. I welcome the opportunity to collaborate with you as you create your own project!

A year-long project where students create or live the overall curriculum of the class is a great way to involve students.  It is constructivism in action!  Welcome to the options of a year-long project.  A year-long project may look like an inquiry project, a problem-based learning project, or a concept-based project.  In fact, I think it involves all three.  The Civilization Project, the project that I designed and used with my sixth grade students for five years, incorporates all three types of projects and learning.  If you teach ancient civilizations, the Civilization Project may be a great resource for you.  If you teach social studies then it might be a model for you to modify as you create your own.  If you teach another content area then the Civilization Project may be an example of something that you could create using your own Big Idea, concepts, and standards. 

Enjoy exploring the different activities and resources.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions or suggestions.

The Civilization Project:  A Year-Long Concept-Based Inquiry Project

Creating the Big Idea Statement (for any content area)

Develop a Big Idea Statement and Concept Web by following the steps in this power point.  I would love to read your big idea statement after you go through the process.  Join hundreds of teachers who no longer complain about their standards, but are empowered to teach them through concepts!

Starting the Civilization Project


Contribution Charts Challenges Disasters




Concept Wall: Government, Geography, Economics, Culture with related categories

Civilization Project Wall with Contribution Charts, Map of Student Civilizations, and Extensions



**  When working as a librarian I ran multiple inquiry projects with all classes. 

** As a multi-grade teacher in China I linked content with student interests to build meaning.  I taught world history backwards through three key concepts and held writersworkshop.  Novels were the foundation of our combined social studies and language classes.

** Teaching social studies in a public school spurred me to create a year-long project where students created their own civilizations, essentially a problem-based learning unit.

** As a creator of a single-gender magnet program, I continually challenged staff that, "we were creating the best middle school experience possible."