Why Do Teachers Make Students Work Together on Group Projects?

Group projects benefit students by allowing them to break complex work into smaller steps, share knowledge and skills, and develop problem-solving abilities. By collaborating on group projects, students also learn how to manage their time, delegate tasks and develop communication skills. Teachers also benefit from the ability to assign more complex projects, since students divide the task into smaller parts they are able to complete within the classroom or as homework.

Group projects provide students with opportunities to interact with their peers and develop their own perspectives as they approach a common problem. Additionally, students have more opportunities to participate in decision-making, hold one another (and themselves) accountable for their performance, and learn from their peers' experience and interactions. Since students sometimes disagree during group projects, they also have opportunities to learn how to resolve disputes, give and receive feedback, and overcome disagreements through discussions.

Teachers can use group projects to fulfill classroom objectives, engage students who may be shy about participating in classroom activities, and develop new ways to approach topics. For example, a group project about planets might have each group responsible for a presentation about one planet in the solar system, allowing student groups to teach each other.