Project-Based Learning (PBL)

Troubleshooting Project-Implementation Hurdles

Use these tips to overcome potential resource and attitude barriers in implementing the golf-hole project.

October 27, 2008

Are you having difficulty setting up the golf-hole project or getting students motivated? Here are some ideas to help overcome these and other issues.

Facing bias against miniature golf?

  • To counter student biases, make analogies to other small-ball sports such as pool, tennis, and baseball, or reference Tiger Woods.
  • To counter administrator biases, frame the project as a geometry lesson or reference the many companies that construct courses.

Short on computers or software?

  • Expand the drawing exercises to include a greater awareness of color, composition, and typography and headings.
  • Increase the expectations for the oral presentation to include a lesson on using note cards, presenting with visual aids, or using research to craft the hole.

Lack of geometry background?

  • Reframe the project as a creativity project, challenging students to design four distinct holes or to assign different themes to holes.

Need more space for setup?

  • Partner with the physical education department and facilities, especially during winter, to include a leisure-activities week when the miniature-golf course could be set up in the gym.
  • Have the class vote on the best three holes and build those in one half of the classroom.
  • Have students build scale models only, using marbles as balls and Popsicle sticks as clubs.

Integrating themes and alternatives into the project:

  • Themed holes incorporating multiple cultures
  • Themed holes incorporating architectural design
  • Themed holes incorporating any other lesson (the plot or a character in a book, a genus of animals for a biology lecture, key events in history, different cultures, etc.)
  • Holes that highlight a student's experience or expertise (specific music, video games, toys, car knowledge, sports, etc.)
  • Holes pushing the boundaries of physics
  • Holes that are ADA compliant for wheelchair users

Tips for pitching the project to the administration:

  • Pitch the project on the benefits of project learning.
  • Adapt the project to include a current school initiative. For example, if the school is focusing on students' awareness of economics, include a budget lesson that requires students to figure out the cost of building the hole. If the school is focusing on leadership and communication skills, have students build holes in teams of three or four.

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Filed Under

  • Project-Based Learning (PBL)
  • Curriculum Planning
  • 9-12 High School

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