Do you know what interests your students in their free time? It would be helpful to leverage these hobbies as tools for learning. By planning projects with their interests as topics, it is easy to engage your students to conduct research involving many of the curriculum’s concepts! Here are a few examples of simple educational in-class projects to use.
What are the kids passionate about?
Some young people are very interested in different disciplines or activities such as astronomy, dinosaurs, cars, animals, music, dance, cinema, video games, etc. That positive energy and curiosity can definitely be used to achieve your teaching goals! Follow these four steps to begin:
- Conduct a short survey: take a few minutes with your students to get to know their passions. Ask them to fill out the short questionnaire attached* to get a clear idea of the subjects they find interesting.
- Analyse the answers in the questionnaire and find out the interests/hobbies/activities that your students are passionate about.
- Make teams based on similar interests.
- Organize projects which could include research, oral presentations or assignments/activities related to these interests.
But what kind of projects?
Things that young people like to do in their spare time usually don’t have a lot to do with the academic world. Their activities usually help them flourish and better express themselves, but this doesn’t mean that these hobbies don’t have significant educational benefits, as described in the following examples:
- Video games entertain young people because they are action packed and take place in a complex, story-driven world. If you ask a team to write a script for a video game, they will have to create a coherent, fast-paced story that they will try to write without any spelling mistakes! You may even spark the idea of a related career (scriptwriter, programmer or designer).
- Loving animals may seem insignificant, but a veterinarian’s job is very complex! Ask the team who love animals to create fact sheets about their favourite animal, or better yet, about an animal they never heard about! You know, the wild and wonderful creatures that you could never have imagined existed! Your learners will be thrilled to share their findings with the rest of the class (biology concepts as a bonus)!
- Arts and culture: students who love music, dance, the cinema or who play a musical instrument can research the history of their art form. This exercise will allow them to learn more about their passion. Rap, for example, has roots in African culture, which developed from jazz and Jamaican music (the first DJ was Jamaican), then into spoken word later becoming the cool sound of today’s rappers. Students can also present their artistic talents in front of the class. And, why not, rap about their passion in front of the class?
- Cars, planes, motorcycles, etc.: how do their favourite cars and their engines work? Combining physics, mechanics and even chemistry, motors are fascinating mechanisms and how they work is well explained in this video. Present the video in class and ask teams to explain (and illustrate their words with drawings) what they remembered. Research is also allowed!
- Fashion and makeup: how do women and men in other cultures dress? What is the history of fashion? A trip around the world and in time awaits your students if they take the time to do some research. Some old illustrated dictionaries even use images to explain when people wore two-foot-high wigs, bowler hats and bathing suits that covered the whole body!
By integrating your students’ passions into their projects, you spark their wonder and motivate them to learn. You can even share YOUR favourite hobby and make it a subject of study. After all, there is nothing more beautiful that seeing someone talk about their passion with stars in their eyes.
From the following list, pick 5 hobbies, activities or things that you like the most, and number your choices in order of preference:
- Humour Which comedian? _________ What type of funny videos? ______________
- Films or series What type? ____________ Which series ? ________________________
- Movie stars and gossip Which actors? ______________________________
- Music What type (rap, rock, jazz, classic, pop, other)? _______________________
Favourite group or singer? _______________________________________
- Reading What (novels, magazines, Internet, comics)?__________________________
- Documentaries Which subjects (astronomy, dinosaurs, extra-terrestrials, esoterism, other)? ___________________________________________________________________________
- Social media Which? ___________________________________________________
- Cars, scooters, motorcycles, ATVs, snowmobiles, planes or trains Which? ________________
- Other: ____________________________________________________________________
Activities and hobbies
- Board games or charades Which? ________________
- Video games Which? _____________________________________________
- Fashion, makeup and hairstyles
- Animals Your favourite? _______________
- Cultural outings Which type ? ______________________
- Singing or musical instrument? Which ______________
- Crafting and art What type (drawing, painting, scrapbooking, etc.) ?_________________
- Writing (poetry or stories)
- Nature and outdoor activities (forest/beach) Which?____________________________________
- Sports and physical activities Which sports or type of training? ___________________
- Travel Where have you been? _________________Where would you like to go? ________________
- Other: _______________________________________
What do you like about your top three top chosen passions/interests?
- Passion no.1 : _________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Passion no.2 : _________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
- Passion no.3 : _________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
What would you like to learn more about this passion?_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Thank you! Your answers will help me to create activities related to your passions and interests