While it feels good to get kids ready to do the project, it turns out, the project is the work.
The preparation is not the work.
It feels fake and ungrounded until an authentic project begins.
Once the audience is engaged and the real work starts, the students have a real incentive to prepare and work on their skills. They know they will have to show up and share it in front of everyone.
Identifying the project, framing the challenge and helping each kid bring their passion to the work is the real challenge. The readiness becomes easy once the end goal becomes clear.
But readiness to meet some adult standard of readiness just feels like another version of the system the kids have despised for many prior years.