Diverse group of high school students volunteer at a donation collection.

Capstone Projects Focused on Real-World Issues: Create Meaningful Experiences that Engage All Students

Helping students find a path to purpose is one of the noblest aspects of teaching.

– Vicki Zakrzewski


  • Set up a process for students to annually engage in capstone projects focused on real-world issues.

  • Review the provided resources for ideas on how to create the project and engage students in it.

Key Components of Capstone Projects

  • Relevant student-selected topic that is of interest to the student
  • Research
  • Engagement activities: observing, volunteering, interviewing, performing, building, creating, experimenting, etc.
  • Drafting and writing a paper and/or presentation outlining the project process and/or results or what was learned
  • Presentation of ideas
    • If more than one student is working on the same topic, then debate is also often incorporated as a means of learning and engaging in deeper consideration of the topic – it is especially useful before they finalize their individual paper/presentation
  • Reflection
    • As part of the process, have each student reflect and apply several key ideas they have learned in the classroom throughout the year to their projects

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