Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

Monthly Update sign up
Mailing List signup
LINK: Social Studies in Action Home
Students working together around a table. In This Lesson:.
Exploring The Issues.
Applying What You've Learned.
NCSS Themes in This Lesson.

Groups, Projects, and Presentations

How can we increase the effectiveness of groups, projects, and presentations in social studies teaching and learning?

When can these activities replace more conventional means of assessment?

Providing time for students to interact and apply their knowledge contributes to deeper understanding and greater retention, but how can teachers ensure that all students are mastering the material? The answer lies in detailed planning and clear guidelines.

Planning includes thinking about the size and composition of groups. Groups may be informal -- pairs of students helping one another learn -- or structured to draw on the varied abilities that students bring to a well-defined task. Before groups begin their work, students need to learn how to work collaboratively. Learning how to work in groups is facilitated by setting expectations, teaching collaborative skills, and assigning roles that give each student a specific task. Students also need guidelines for their projects and presentations. They need to know the purpose of the activity as well as the criteria for assessment. Students can then use these assessment criteria to help them develop the product or presentation.

Projects take many forms, from posters to models to displays. While projects and presentations help teacher assessment, they are also designed to extend learning. Both projects and presentations invite the learner to engage with important knowledge and processes in order to understand, retain, and apply them in new contexts. In the video, "Groups, Projects, and Presentations," teachers increase the success of cooperative group work by:

  • setting a purposeful goal that helps teach important content and skills
  • making groups as heterogeneous as possible
  • ensuring that each team member has a role in completing the task, and
  • ensuring that each member of the group helps other members learn.


© Annenberg Foundation 2017. All rights reserved. Legal Policy