18 May 2021

The Pros and Cons of Group Projects



The farther you get into education, the more likely it is that you will have to be part of a group project at one point or another. Group projects are notoriously hated by most students. Yet, there is a reason why they are so commonly integrated into the curriculum.


If you are an elementary teacher looking to give your students a taste of a group project it can be a bit more difficult. The reason for this is because most often groups are expected to work on projects outside of class time. However, group projects are still possible if you allow time in class for groups to work together. Here you can find some solar system project ideas that kids will love.



  • Social Skills

  • Communication

  • Lighter Workload

  • Teambuilding

  • Real Life Application

  • Increase Project Difficulty

  • Organization

  • Leadership

Advantages for Students


Although it may be difficult for them to see, there are advantages for the students involved in group work. Learning to see things from a different perspective other than their own is good for social growth and enrichment. The world today needs so much more understanding and inclusion.


A huge benefit to working in a group is that one person’s weakness might be another person’s strength and if those strengths and weaknesses can be identified the group will be equally benefited.


Working in a group is a chance for the student to express their ideas and learn to communicate and discuss their point of view in a clear way. It also gives many opportunities to learn how to overcome conflict and practice problem solving skills which are necessary life skills.


And although it's not always the case, there is an opportunity to lighten the load if group work is done right. Many hands make for light work. 


Advantages for Teachers


Every good teacher wants their students to excel in life, not just academically. Assigning group projects gives teachers an opportunity to watch students collaborate, analyze their team working skills and report back to the parents.


As a teacher you may not get as much time to spend on real life applications because traditional learning and standardized testing occupy a lot of time. Group work gives students real life application because there are hardly any jobs in the world where someone works entirely independently.


Group work also gives teachers the opportunity to assign a more difficult project because the workload can be shared. This is a great time to evaluate and identify the true leaders among a group of students. This is especially helpful if the teacher is just getting to know a class.  



  • Unequal Participation
  • Freeloading

  • Unfair Grading

  • Sacrificing Class Time

  • Extinguish Conflict

  • Disadvantages for Students


Most students have a long list of cons when it comes to group work. One of the main complaints from students is that of unequal participation. This goes hand in hand with freeloaders and unfair grading rubrics.


No student wants to put in the work for someone else to get a grade they don’t deserve without doing any of the work. On the other hand, if someone gets a poor grade because someone else didn’t pull their weight it can seem even more unfair.


Doing group work is often not as efficient as doing the work yourself on your own time and the way you want to. And even for the most experienced group workers with the best possible grading rubrics it can be difficult to consider someone else’s point of view and surrender your own opinion. 


Disadvantages for Teachers


Sometimes the hardest part of being a teacher is knowing when to step back and give children a chance to learn for themselves; even if they learn it the hard way. Especially among younger groups of students, teachers have to be a lot more involved in the group process. Teachers will likely spend a lot of time putting out fires of conflict between group members.


Coming up with a fair grading rubric and making expectations clear is an essential part of a successful group project, and this will take more time and preparation on the part of the teacher to ensure fair grading and participation.


Compiling the groups is also a challenge. Teachers should consider different learning styles and levels of competency. Not all of the strongest students should be put together in the same group. However, there is also the risk of the one person taking over and doing all of the work. Students that are friends likely want to work together, but this can cause problems with distraction and getting off topic with friends.


Elementary teachers especially have to sacrifice valuable class time to accommodate group work. This may also include having to rearrange the classroom.


Choosing to Incorporate Group Work


So whether it's a science project about solar systems for your mid level elementary school classroom, or a college class full of somewhat mature and experienced students, these are a few of the pros and cons of assigning this type of project.







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