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Steve Haberlin is an assistant professor of education at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. He holds a Ph.D. with a specialization in elementary education from the University of South Florida. His...
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Launching Type 3 Projects

Note: This is the second installment of a three-part series.

In my last blog, I introduced Type 3 projects—long-term investigations that involve solving real-world problems with real-world products and services. After introducing Type 3s to students through videos, examples, and student testimonials, it is time to begin the projects. If I were to encapsulate the proper starting of these projects in one word, it would be preparation. Students must think through every aspect of the project: why they want to do it, what they want to accomplish, and how they will handle difficulties along the way. The following steps will allow this to happen.


You may want to interview students before granting approval to work on a Type 3. This runs counter to many school projects and assignments, where everyone has an opportunity to work on them. However, Type 3s require intense commitment, patience, and passion in an area, and thus students, regardless of being labeled gifted or advanced, might not be ready to tackle this challenge. Other projects or lessons may be more suitable. When interviewing, ask students why they want to complete a Type 3, what their topic is, and what challenges they might face. Students can prepare a written series of answers as well as questions they may have prior to the interview. This activity also engages students in listening and speaking skills as required by Common Core English Language Arts standards.


After students receive permission to complete a Type 3, the next step is for them to draft a detailed plan. Below is an example of the questions they should consider.

  1. What is the topic of your project?
  2. Describe your topic in one to two sentences.
  3. What problem does your project address?
  4. What product/service will you create to solve/address this problem?
  5. Who is your target audience?
  6. What resources will you need (e.g., computer/Internet/notebooks)?
  7. What research/background information will you need?
  8. What challenges do you anticipate? How will you handle them?
  9. Create a series of action steps along with deadlines for each step to complete the project.
    Example: Conduct an Internet search about dogs and adoption in the U.S. (March 1)
  10. How will you assess/evaluate your project? How will you know you’re successful?

Creating plans can be done on paper or using word processors. It’s critical that the plans remain accessible to students so they can continue to refer to them throughout the process.

Post Conference

After students create their plan, have them share it with classmates and get feedback. Encourage them to make revisions. Then, conference individually with students to go over their plans. Have students talk through the plans. Question them, make sure they have a clear picture of where they want to go. Address any gaps or concerns. Again, encourage students to revise the plans. Preparation comes from planning and carefully thinking through the entire process. Of course, other challenges and situations will arise as students start working on the projects but this teaches students the value of planning and focus. It heads off many of the problems that students will inevitably face when undertaking large projects. In the next blog, I will address the logistical, day-to-day details of managing these projects and helping students produce the best possible projects.


Steve Haberlin is a graduate assistant and Ph.D. student at the University of South Florida and an educator with 10 years of experience.