The upcoming school year will be unlike any we’ve seen. Much of the workload will be placed on parents and other family members and the typical structured curriculum has been thrown out the window. A silver lining to this cloud is the opportunity for more creative learning options such as passion projects for children.
Passion projects are a way for a student to learn more about a topic of their choosing. Many family members, especially grandparents, are looking for ways to help their students in these trying times. Getting involved with a passion project for your grandchild is one way to help with remote learning and to bond with your favorite little ones.
What is a passion project?
A passion project is a project that a student takes on to learn something that they are interested in, or passionate about. They chose the subject, the goal of the project, the deliverable, and whether to work as part of a group or as a solo learner. It can be about any topic the student selects, pending teacher approval in most cases.
Individual projects are a wonderful way for grandparents and other family members to help with remote learning. To learn more about other ways that family can participate in distance learning, read 5 Ways Grandparents Can Help with Remote Learning.
Some other terms related to passion projects are genius hour and 20% time. These phrases refer to the time that is set aside each week to work on the project.
Passion projects spark creativity and curiosity. Since the topic is something that the child is already interested in, they become engaged in learning and excited to work on their projects.
Share these videos with your child or grandchild for an introduction to passion projects and the genius hour:
What are some examples of passion projects?
Passion projects come in all shapes and sizes. Here are some ideas for passion projects for children:
- Make a game
- Invent something
- Start a band
- Write music
- Draft a novel
- Create a campaign for an environment issue
- Test and compare similar products
- Do a charity project
Click here for a list of 13 Great and Unique Passion Project Ideas
How to do a passion project
The steps to a passion project are pretty straightforward but your student will need some guidance and support. Create instructions for them including the following:
Identify your topic area
The first step is for the student to select a topic area. Some kids identify their topic instantly while others need some guidance. Try asking questions and leading your learner down a path to discovery.
- What are some things that you like at home? at school?
- List topics that you care about
- What are you curious about?
- Explore what you are good at and what makes you good at it
- Can you think of something that doesn’t seem to work right?
- What do you wonder about?
Write your passion project goal
Once the broad topic area is identified, begin to narrow it down to a concise project goal. Brainstorm ideas based on the answers to the questions above. Create a mind map of the different topic areas, listing every question you can think about that topic.
Select the one you find the most interesting. Try a second mind map of your selected topic to make sure it is deep enough for a full scale project.
Read and research your project
Guide your child or grandchild to research the topic thoroughly, keeping track of sources for later notation. Research can be difficult for younger students so be prepared to help. Let your student come up with the questions then help them to find the answers.
Books, magazines, journals, blogs, online encyclopedias and relevant websites are all ways to find answers and information and most are available on line. Determine the best sources of information for the project and develop a research plan then dig in!
Decide how to present the results
A passion project will result in a final deliverable. This may be a presentation, website, blog, poster, model, song, dance, a video, or any other creative final product.
Identify the desired outcome and the materials needed to produce that outcome.
Determine if this will be a solo project or done with other classmates. Some projects work well with a group, even if that group has to work remotely.
Use hands on experimentation
Part of the fun of a passion project is to dig in deeply. This means you have to go beyond just reading about a topic. You need to try it out, experiment, and learn from the outcome.
Get your hands dirty and stretch your imagination!
Present your results
Share your project with the class. The teacher will arrange for the project outcomes to be shared with the other students in the class giving your student an opportunity to proudly display their work and share their passion. Perhaps it will spark an idea for another student!
Whatever project your learner tackles, it is an opportunity to find passion for learning and promises to be an academic experience that will be engaging and fun. As a bonus, you get to spend more time with your favorite people!
Get your list of 13 Great and Unique Passion Project Ideas here.