Seven Essential Project Design Elements

A Challenging Problem or Question

The project is framed by a meaningful problem to be solved or a question to answer, at the appropriate level of challenge

Sustained Inquiry

Students engage in a rigorous, extended process of posing questions, finding resources, and applying information.

Critique & Revision

Students give, receive, and apply feedback to improve their process and products.

Public Product

Students make their project work public by explaining, displaying and/or presenting it to audiences beyond the classroom

Student Voice & Choice

Students make some decisions about the project, including how they work and what they create.


Students and teachers reflect on the learning, the effectiveness of their inquiry and project activities, the quality of student work, and obstacles that arise and strategies for overcoming them.


The project involves real-world context, tasks and tools, quality standards, or impact, or the project speaks to personal concerns, interests, and issues in the students’ lives.