10 Virtual PBL project ideas 

Sometimes coming up with the idea is the hardest part… AND THEN once you have the idea, what do you do with it?! Let’s tackle that first part here…

I come up for my best project ideas when I’m anywhere BUT at work. Listen to this interview on the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast where I talk about how I come up with project ideas. When it comes to brainstorming ideas for virtual projects, the process really is no different. I like to think about my end-users, now in distance learning more than ever, so I tend to design based on things I know my own two children are passionate about. Here are some of my latest ideas with virtual project potential: 


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Ideas for virtual PBL projects

  • Locals guide to fishing – My son LOVES to fish. As his commitment to the sport has increased, we have had to learn a lot! Where to go, what time of day is best, what to use as bait, what type of rod to use- there is a lot of “inside scoop” to know about local fishing. For kids who share this passion it would be so fun for students to make and publish a local field-guide for their fellow fishermen (ie., their peers). And I would be willing to bet a local fish shop would happily carry and sell the published book!  What a great way to teach about science, geography and even local history. If you aren’t excited about the concept of a field guide for a final product,  what about exploring overfishing and promoting awareness through a public campaign of some sort?  


  • Geology Rocks- Do you know how much earth history is all around us? My kids love hiking in the Eastern Sierras and it always feels like such a rich learning opportunity for a content area that could otherwise be a bit dry.  I’m the annoying tourist that stops and reads every informational placard along the route of a hike. I have noticed that all of the informational placards are written at a pretty high reading level, given that many of the highly frequented area visitors don’t always speak English AND are very young. Wouldn’t it be cool to have students create QR codes for state park placards that provide the information in kid-friendly language? Be sure to check out the amazing free resources from CA Parks to bring this project to life. That’s a lot of informational reading, writing, geology and NGSS potential right there! 


  • Sports: Where we are and where we are headed– Students can create a documentary for kids by kids to capture how sports have responded to COVID; or maybe even create a Choose Your Own Adventure book to show their predictions of the impact of COVID on the future of sports.  You may also have students dive deeper using any of the project ideas here about how we can go beyond surface  conversations about race, using sports as an entry point and/or model. Our current context of sports is a great launch pad for argumentative writing, research and social studies… and possibly even science and math. 


  • Bringing back archery – A fun little trip to Pangea somehow landed us two bow and arrows last week.  Did you know you can use PVC pipe to create a bow at home? If you can’t send home materials, students can recycle and reuse materials to design their own (string, pencils, eraser tops, etc.) -making a virtual Design Thinking Sprint could be really fun!  Pair it with a series of math lessons or a science unit related to the Hunger Games (have you read the NEW book?!) and you have an interdisciplinary project idea!


  • Youth Athlete Guide- Have you se