Service-Learning Project Ideas

Here are some interesting ideas for service-learning projects.  You'll also find links to outside resources.  If you have a creative service-learning project idea that you would like to submit for possible publication on our web site, email

Coverdell World Wise Schools
Coverdell World Wise Schools (CWWS) is an innovative education program that seeks to engage learners in an inquiry about the world, themselves, and others in order to broaden perspectives, promote cultural awareness, appreciate global connections, and encourage service.   Initially set up as a correspondence "match" program between Peace Corps volunteers and U.S. classrooms, CWWS has expanded its scope over the past ten years by providing a broad range of resources for educators - including award-winning videos, teacher guides, classroom speakers, a newsletter, and online resources. 

The online resources include service-learning lesson plans, project ideas, Peace Corps Volunteer Partnership projects, and more.  Visit for more information!


Hats for the Homeless

High school students in Maryland learn about homelessness and family needs while giving back to their community through the "Hats for Homeless" service-learning project.  Students apply the knowledge they learn and the basics of teamwork to create over 100 hat creations. They then donate the hats to a local crisis shelter. Through this service-learning project, students learn about homelessness, as well as gain textile creation skills.  


Maryland was the first state in the nation to require service-learning activities as part of graduation. To learn more about this project and other service-learning ideas, visit the Maryland State Department of Education's website


Literacy and Civic Responsibility

Seventh-grade students in Omaha, Nebraska decided to work on the problem of illiteracy.  First, students invited experts on reading to their classroom.  A reporter from a local newspaper talked about the link between literacy and information.  A state senator answered questions about how government was addressing literacy. 


Next, students coordinated a book drive.  The books were donated to homeless shelters and the local literacy council.  Then, students organized a literacy-mentoring program at the local elementary school.  Finally, they developed a series of books on tape for distribution to elementary schools, a children's hospital, and homeless shelters.  


Students involved in this project looked beyond short-term solutions to the problem of illiteracy.  They learned about the roles individuals, the community, and government play in this complex social issue.  This service-learning project gives students a more complete picture of civic responsibility, as compared to a one-day community service project in which students merely organize a book drive for a local homeless shelter.     


This project idea can be found in the Spring 2000 edition of The Service-Learning Network, a newsletter published by the Constitutional Rights Foundation.  Access the full edition online at:


Working with Worms: Earthworks Junior Master Composter Program

Students in the Earthworks Junior Master Composting Program in Grapevine, Texas have taken it upon themselves to increase children's awareness of the positive role they can play in waste reduction at home and at school by composting.  


Through their service-learning program, fifth and sixth graders learn about composting and  vermicomposting (using worms) in a four-hour course that teaches how to turn leaves, grass, and food scraps into "black gold," or compost.    


The youth participants learn about the history of garbage and landfills, the definition of organic material, and the principles of composting.  Participating schools receive a compost bin, thermometer, manual, resource books, and worm bin.  After attending the class, each student spends an additional four hours teaching parents and neighbors to compost yard trimmings or working with other students at school composting demonstration sites.  To receive their Junior Master Composter certificate, students must commit to teaching at least two others about the fundamentals of composting.