Seven Steps in Project Planning

Developed by Coordinators for Coordinators

Utilize the following suggested options for helping your STLP design and make their projects. These steps have been developed as a guiding framework by STLP Coordinators and students based upon their experiences with projects at Regionals and State.

Please, consider these steps to be optional and feel free to make use of any, all, or a completely different resources to help guide your projects.

STLP Collage image

During the start of the project planning phase, a leader (the Coordinator, a Student, an outside facilitator) can lead the discussion on how to plan a project. If a school’s STLP has more than one project, this guide may help the Coordinator facilitate the students as they plan their projects and manage how to work with student leaders for each project.  Schools may have more than one project; however, the registration limit for Regionals is 3 projects (unless school has attained Gold Status or district has Titanium Status)

Remember, although a project team size has no participation limit, each project is confined to providing up to the best 4 students as project representative/presenters to judges at regionals. Consider who will make the strongest presentations for your teams.  While your entire team is welcome to attend Regionals or State with the project, remember that the 4 presenters will be the only students invited to speak with judges as official representatives.

As always, utilize the Level 1, 2, and 3 Project Rubrics and the Team Reflection document from the very beginning of this process.

Brainstorm ideas for projects that would impact the school or community. This is the time for big ideas — don’t focus on costs or feasibility at this stage.  Just get your ideas out to the group for discussion.  No idea should be disregarded at this step.

As a team, determine projects your school would like to focus upon this year.

Begin to hone in on your main project idea. As you narrow your scope, consider this important question: Do you have any research or data, need or interest by students to support the project?

Often, the most successful projects grow out of an identified need. If there is not evidence to support a need for the project or specific outcome, perhaps the team will want to consider their other ideas developed in Step One.

Identify the project(s) the team wishes to pursue/develop.

Consider the following questions:

  • Is the project a returning project from a previous STLP event?
  • How will the project impact others?
  • Does the project accomplish the STLP goal(s)?
  • Who does the project help?
  • Teachers: will your students utilize Technology Standards?
  • Students: what technology skills will you gain?
  • Community: will people outside of school benefit or gain technology skills?
  • Will people increase their learning with the help of the technology in the project?
  • Is the project carried out over time? Estimate how long.
  • Will the students hold interest in the project after the initial stages?
  • How does the project reach out to people or the community?
  • Who can you collaborate with to develop/launch your project?
  • Is the project highly technical, instructional or community service based?
  • Is the project assisting with any areas of STEM[1]?
  • Does your group believe they can succeed in accomplishing the project?

Talk about the project:

  • Has the school done this project before? Is there new work the new students can do to improve the returning project?
  • What type(s) of project is it? (Community Service, Instructional, Entrepreneurial, or Technical Expertise)
  • When to do the project? What has to be done? Who is responsible?
  • What resources are needed? (Materials and people)
  • How will you determine feedback and outcomes?
  • How will you collect the information to show impact?
  • Who will you collaborate with to make the project stronger?

STLP is open to all students.

To ensure a stronger team, the make-up of the team members can be diverse in talent. A team could include: a student that is beginning to learn technology, one who likes to talk about the project, one with technical skills, and one which could teach others about the project. This can make a well-rounded team.

Check with students about sports, AP Testing, other club trips that may affect the student being involved with the presentation of the project at Regionals and at State Championship.

Make this a priority: Have someone record who and what is being done in order to complete the project and document the progress. Use this checklist to gauge progress throughout the project cycle.  Consider utilizing resources like a Google Classroom that is just for organizing your STLP projects/products.

Ask the tough question: Does the project warrant going to Regionals to represent your school in the project category you’ve chosen to compete? If yes, then register project online.

NOTE: The most successful STLP groups hold a classroom, school or district Project Showcase to help determine which projects will be sent on to Regionals. Using the actual Level 1 Rubric, schools that invite other adults to interview students about their projects ahead of Regionals tend to select the strongest candidates that, in turn, tend to make it farther along the Project category (from Regional to State, see “Road to Rupp“)

More PBL Resources

Ready to dig deeper into Project Based Learning? Here are a few resources to help get you started…