Phase 2: The Project Approach


Phase 2 is also known as the Investigation Phase.

During this phase, the adult’s role is to provide first-hand experiences related to the child's interest topic. If you want to see more about Phase 1, go here

Phase 2 takes the most time of the three phases of project work.  This phase helps children to develop their ideas and deepen their understandings.

Field Work

Before visiting the field site, the children should review their list of questions that were developed during Phase 1.  Are there new questions they would like to add?  Ask the children to think of ways that they can record their findings.  Children can record sights, sounds, smells.  They can write numbers, tally marks, diagrams, and take photographs. 

While at the field site, children can be shown objects and events.  Children will use their chosen recording methods to document their findings.

One of my favorite projects was the restaurant project when I was preschool teacher.  We took the children to visit a local restaurant.  They wanted to know how many tables were in the restaurant, how the food was made, and how they rolled the silverware.  The children first ate lunch at the restaurant, and watched the servers take food and deliver the meals.  One group of students took photographs, while others drew diagrams of the layout of the dining room.  Some children visited the large refrigerator and took a tally of how many cans they found inside. Some children used our digital cameras (this was back in the early 2000's) to take photographs of things they wanted to remember.

Once we got back to the classroom, each group shared their findings with each other.  


Some of the children's questions may be best answered by experts.  Children can determine what questions they want to ask the expert.  They can draw pictures of the questions they want to ask to help them remember.  Ask the children how they want to record the interview answers.  They may want to video tape, audio record, or make notes.  


Upon returning from the field site and interviews, children should have multiple opportunities with multiple different materials to represent or show what they discovered.  This may mean acting it out or retelling the experience in the dramatic play center.  What materials do the children want to do this?

Children may want to re-draw their diagrams.  They may want to construct models using clay. The options are endless.

Secondary Sources

There may be some questions that were left unanswered.  Or new questions may have arose after the field work and interviews.  Secondary sources can answer some of these.  These can be books, pamphlets, videos, websites, etc.  

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