Ideas for Involving Students in Planning a Project
for Places and Perspectives Learning Circles
Group Project Search
Thinking about your geographic location and local history
will often generate a number of good project ideas. Begin with your location.
Ask your students to list geographic features or conditions that make
your city different from the other cities in your Learning Circle (land
formations, waterways, proximity to coastlines, climate etc.). Next to
each of the items, ask students to list how these geographic conditions
affect their lives.
Now use the same list and ask how the features have affected
the historical development of your city. Talk about the ways your city
would change if it were next to a river, or surrounded by mountains, or
on the coast.
This discussion should help students see how all aspects
of their lives have been influenced in some way by where they are located.
This insight will be of interest to students in other locations. On the
network they will be able to find answers to questions about how different
geographic locations affect students' lives. Often, this type of brainstorming
will help students formulate good questions about people who live in different
The final step is to organize these questions into a Learning
Circle project. The students need to discuss (1) the type of information
they will want to share about their community and (2) what project information
they will want to learn from their peers.
A Project Proposal Competition
This method can provide some unusual ideas that students
generate themselves as they think about other places.
Explain the theme of history and geography. Give students
a copy of some of the project ideas in this guide and then ask each student
to write a one page proposal for a Learning Circle project that he or
she thinks would be a good project for the class to sponsor. Tell the
students to be as specific as possible. They will need to indicate what
information they would prepare for the other classes and what type of
information they would like to receive from students in other locations.
The proposals can be turned in with the author's name on a separate page.
All the proposals can be posted anonymously on a bulletin board so that
students can read them. Students can then discuss the ideas and vote on
the project they would like to do on the Learning Network. This way the
ideas are discussed without the connection to a particular student.
to Places and Perspectives
Margaret Riel, Copyright © 1997, Revised 2002. All rights