That’s me above building a planter box with my wood shop mentor.

You should have seen my first planter box.

Soil leaked regularly out of the bottom.
The wood cracked with the slightest bit of pressure.
The plants had no room to grow their roots.
Two out of three of the planter boxes caved in on their legs.
The screws protruded in hapless directions.

I created my first planter box with the help of some youtube videos and intuition.

I’m building the ones you see pictured above with the support of a master carpenter. In just 3 short hours I have learned:

  • How to make straight cuts
  • How to use tools like the skill saw, router, and sander
  • How to drill through wood without it cracking
  • How to make wood more water resistant and durable

Needless to say, having a project mentor has exponentially increased the quality of my work.

Do you use mentors for student projects? 

This is one of the #1 reasons keeping teachers from developing PBL experiences. They fear they lack the expertise to support their students.

But there’s good news. You DON’T have to be the expert in the room.

When we ran a PBL experience asking students to become entrepreneurs, business owners in the community supported them in developing their ideas.

When we ran a project asking students to become urban farmers, we had hydroponics/aquaponics experts show them how to seamlessly grow food.

When we asked students to tackle the water quality problem in the nearby river, we had environmental engineers help them with data collection, and inventors support them in their environmental innovations.

How might you use mentors to support your students’ projects? 

Here’s what I might suggest…

  1. First, work with students to identify the skills needed to complete the project or address the main challenge.
  2. Next, identify people in the classroom who possess that expertise (including peers).
  3. With the skills unmet, reach out to your parent community to see who might support.

Finally, reach out to the greater local community (use Facebook, Instagram, etc.) to find mentors.

Here’s some even better news…

There are expert PBL practitioners worldwide utilizing mentors seamlessly to support student project work. And they are probably doing a better job than I ever could.

What if you could connect with them to learn from their triumphs and pitfalls? 

This January, I am curating monthly forums so that you CAN.

But it’s not just learning about how to utilize project mentors…

You will also learn from expert practitioners worldwide how to scale PBL; effectively assess and report; build student self- management skills; develop partnerships with the community; and more PBL topics that YOU select to discuss.

Learn more about the monthly forums and enroll a practitioner team for a BIG discount   —> PBL Collab and Grab Sign Up

To your success finding project mentors!

Your [co] learning experience designer,