When working with Project-Based Learning, the first project of the year typically follows a unique set of principles compared to other projects.
For students and teachers new to Project-Based Learning this is especially important.
Rather than starting with a full-on, academically rigorous first project, I suggest something different.
Use the first project as an opportunity to build culture, get to know students, introduce key PBL language and experience the "full arch" of a project together.
Investing the first few weeks in this way provides a foundation for students to take on more academically-loaded and self-directed projects the rest of the year. It also establishes the classroom as a safe space for students to explore new skills and a new way of working.