December Project-Based Learning Ideas

December Project ideas 3-5

If you’ve ever visited my blog before, you know that I’m a huge proponent of project-based learning. PBL is the way I get my students to stay engaged in learning – especially around the holidays. You can learn more about planning project-based learning in this PBL planning post.

Project-based learning gives the students choices each step of the way, but also gives a framework, so that students stay focused on the task at hand. The choices make the math much more interesting than worksheets or standalone word problems. Below are a few ideas I have for holiday-themed projects.

Cookie Exchange

December Project-Based Learning Grade 5
This is by far my favorite type of math project: one that involved cookies! Click here to buy the lesson plans & student pages.

Premise

Holiday Cookie Exchange is the ultimate PBL for fractions and measurement! Students choose cookie recipes to make for their annual cookie exchange and have to calculate the amount and cost of each ingredient needed. End this project by making cookies in your classroom (no bake are my favorite!).

Timing

1-2 weeks, depending on how deep you want to go

Standards

I use this PBL to teach about and practice both fraction and decimal operations.

 

Plan a Holiday Party

December Project-Based Learning Grades 3-5
Click for: 3rd Grade | 4th Grade | 5th Grade

Premise

Students really learn what their parents go through during the holidays when they plan their own holiday party using real-life math. I have them start by creating a guest list of friends and family. The number of guests they choose determines the amount of food they will shop for and the seating for their party. The project ends with students creating an invitation for their party that showcases the food and special details they chose to have at their party.

Timing

1-2 weeks, depending on how deep you want to go

Standards

This PBL premise is great for almost every grade level, but my experience comes from using it to focus on math standards in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade.

Get Help Planning PBL!

Enter your name and e-mail address below to get access to my free Project-Based Learning Planning Guide. Make sure to look for an e-mail from me that asks you to confirm to get your planning guide. When you click on the confirmation link, it will take you to your download. I look forward to helping you!

  • Third grade– area, multiplication, addition, and subtraction
  • Fourth grade– area, perimeter, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and fractions
  • Fifth grade– multiplication, division, measurement, area, and decimals
december projects
Some of the work students do when they plan their own parties.

Gingerbread House STEM

December Project-Based Learning Grades 3-5
Find the lesson plans & student pages here.

Premise

This is one of the shorter projects I’ve done, but it’s very focused. Students learn about the history behind gingerbread houses with the literacy portion. They also read about and research circuits and paper circuits. This leads them to create their own gingerbread houses with paper circuit light displays. It’s a definite hit every time.

Timing

5 Days

Gingerbread STEM Lesson Plan

Standards

There’s a long list of standards involved in the short 5 day project. We cover area, perimeter, and fractions. We also cover standards around electrical circuits, researching, and writing. You can find an extensive list of standards here.

 

No matter which project-based learning activity you choose, you can bet that your students will be super engaged in this type of learning – all the way up until winter break! To find out more about project-based learning, read this blog series, or subscribe below to get the planning guide.

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