Help on teaching kids on Project Management
November 11, 2013 8:14 AM   Subscribe

My kids' school has started a program to have parents come in and talk about careers after school - what jobs are available, what it means from overall responsibility and day-to-day activities. I am signed up to talk about IT Project Mgmt...

The session has to be fun-filled, with pictures, videos and activities for kids to learn about project mgmt.

I am thinking of the following ideas:

1. Introduce the basics - what is a project, different roles in projects (no IT jargon, real world examples), role of project manager
2. Introduce the teacher as a project manager. The teacher has to manage what lessons are taught when, kids do various projects and the teacher manages the class and helps out where needed etc
3. Show some pictures and videos
4. Have the kids do a "project" with no project manager and then show how having one would help.

Please suggest/recommend ideas, resources, books, videos for #3 and #4 especially, but anything for #1 and #2 are also very welcome.
posted by theobserver to Education (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The organization of the site is a bit poor, but if you poke around at you might find some useful resources.
posted by heliotrope at 8:18 AM on November 11, 2013

As an IT PM who recently did something similar (not so much on the PM role but talked about the type of projects I managed to a group that had taken some PM classes and were deciding between IT and Business), if you can demo, I found that very useful.

I demoed a site we had built and you could see the participants get on the edge of their seats. Sometimes IT can sound scary and overly technical and the visual seemed to excite and engage them. I know we had a few change their choice from business to IT because of the demo.
posted by polkadot at 8:46 AM on November 11, 2013

How old are the kids and how much time do you have?
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 9:00 AM on November 11, 2013

Another metaphor that many kids might be familiar with is a coach. A particular game or meet is the project, and the coach has to decide who plays, what their roles are, what to do if the game isn't going as planned, etc. Practices can be related to ongoing professional development or skills-based training for a particular project/opponent.

Still another area to draw from would be tabletop games or video games. The DM in a game of Dungeons & Dragons is kind of like a project manager. In a MMORPG, who decides what everyone is going to do in a quest? How do you assemble your party?
posted by SuperSquirrel at 9:07 AM on November 11, 2013

Another analogy might be putting on a play. You can get them to brainstorm all the different jobs they may not have thought about -- building the set, getting the props, making the costumes, making the program, doing the lights, etc. You could even talk them through building a timeline chart of what has to be done when - for example we need the costumes before the dress rehearsal, and if the first costume doesn't fit we might need time to make a new one so we'd better give ourselves a couple of weeks, etc. Talking about how to solve those kind of logical dependencies to lay out a schedule that will work. (You could talk about this in the teacher example too, we need to learn about x before we can learn about y, and the lesson on z has to come before our trip to the museum, etc.)
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:36 AM on November 11, 2013

Response by poster: Oh, its for 4th graders and I will have about 30-45 mins max.
posted by theobserver at 10:48 AM on November 11, 2013

Some parents in my daughter's class came in to tell about their careers and some of them were successful in relating what they do to books the kids would have read. For example, if there's a book in which there's some sort of a project (construction, development, creating something, etc.) you can then hypothesize about how that project was or could have been managed. If you can find out what books all the kids would have read in the last several years, you might find one that lends itself well to that approach.
posted by Dansaman at 2:02 PM on November 11, 2013

You might get some ideas from this blog post and video about using Jira Jr. for children.
posted by CathyG at 2:34 PM on November 11, 2013

I don't know if you were looking at covering this aspect of it, but I attended a session on Agile development that included a simplified variation of the kanban paper airplane exercise. Everybody I talked to afterward found it interesting and educational. And it sounds like the actual planned exercise is a lot more structured, with the intent of ensuring the students will encounter and have to address certain specific issues.
posted by Lexica at 7:43 PM on November 11, 2013

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