How to Create a Successful Project (for School)

some general steps and best practices can help you tackle any project on your plate more successfully. You’ll need to pick a topic and plan out your project. Next, you’ll need to do some research. Finally, you’ll need to put everything together in your final project.

1
Begin early. It’s always best to begin an assignment as soon as you get it. Your teacher has given you a long time to do it for reason; it’s going to take that much time to do it. Begin by making a plan early, so you have time to complete everything you need to do. That way, you won’t be working the night before to finish the project

2
Read the assignment. The assignment will give you detailed instructions about what you need to do. Block out distractions and really read what you are required to do. If the teacher hasn’t already done it, break the project down into components so you understand exactly what you’re teacher is asking you to do.[1] For instance, maybe your assignment is “Create a visual representation of the Civil War. You can pick one battle, one idea, one speech, a defining moment, or focus on the war as a whole. Make sure to include relevant dates and people in your representation.”
You can break this down into parts: 1) Make something visual about the Civil War. 2) Choose a focus. 3) Include relevant dates. 4) Include relevant people.

3
Brainstorm ideas. Brainstorming is a way to get your ideas on paper. Basically, you spend time writing out what you want to do and connecting ideas to help get your creative juices flowing. It can help you focus on what you want to do, as well as come up with things you hadn’t thought of. You can use one of several techniques to brainstorm.[2] Try freewriting. Take out a sheet of paper. On the top, write down something such as “Civil War Project.” Start writing about the project. Don’t stop yourself or censor ideas. Just let them come as they will. For instance, maybe you could start out by writing “For me, one of the defining points of the Civil War was the Gettysburg Address. It really made clear that the fight was about human equality. But now I must make that visual. Four-score and seven years ago… I could take individual lines, maybe? Connect ideas to defining parts of the war…”[3] Try a map. Start with a circle in the middle of the paper with “Civil War Project” written in the middle of it. Draw a line from the center circle to another circle, and add a fact or idea. Just keep associating ideas together, not really thinking too deeply about it. As you go, group like ideas near each other. When you’re done, look at where the largest groupings are, and let that guide your focus.[4]

4
Pick a focus. While it may be tempting to pick a broad topic, such as the whole Civil War, it will actually be easier if you narrow that down. That way, you won’t get bogged down in as many details.[5] The best way to pick a topic is to choose what you focused on in your brainstorming. For instance, maybe you think the Gettysburg Address is a good focal point.[6] However, if your topic is still too broad, such as “battles in the Civil War,” try picking one aspect within that topic. You could choose one battle you think is defining, or a particular aspect of the battles, such as battle fatigue in soldiers.

5
Decide how you want to represent your project. If it’s a visual project, as the example has been throughout this article, think about the best way to represent your ideas. If you are doing several important events, maybe a visual timeline would work best. If you are working on something that is geographically based, such as battles, maybe a map with added details would be better. Play to what your project needs.
You can even think about doing something 3-dimensional instead of 2-dimensional. Maybe you could make a 3-D map of the battles, depicting the movement of troops.
Alternatively, you could try sculpting out of papier-mâché. Maybe you could sculpt Abraham Lincoln and use scripts coming off his body to tell your story.

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