PROJECT BASED LEARNING (PBL)
According to the Buck Institute for Education (BIE), Project Based Learning is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge.
Essential Project Design Elements include:
- Key Knowledge, Understanding, and Success Skills - The project is focused on student learning goals, including standards-based content and skills such as critical thinking/problem solving, collaboration, and self-management.
- Challenging Problem or Question - The project is framed by a meaningful problem to solve or a question to answer, at the appropriate level of challenge.
- Sustained Inquiry - Students engage in a rigorous, extended process of asking questions, finding resources, and applying information.
- Authenticity - The project features real-world context, tasks and tools, quality standards, or impact - or speaks to students' personal concerns, interests, and issues in their lives.
- Student Voice & Choice - Students make some decisions about the project, including how they work and what they create.
- Reflection - Students and teachers reflect on learning, the effectiveness of their inquiry and project activities, the quality of student work, obstacles and how to overcome them.
- Critique & Revision - Students give, receive, and use feedback to improve their process and products.
- Public Product - Students make their project work public by explaining, displaying and/or presenting it to people beyond the classroom.
Create your Own PBL!
Here is the template TCSJ candidates use to write their PBL units!
Let Us Help
As a teacher, designing PBL units can be difficult. Below are PBLs designed by either TCSJ staff or M.Ed. candidates that you can implement with your students.
Be sure to check back regularly to view new PBLs!
Understanding Rational Numbers Through Project Design
Paul Villalovos and Brian Barnett, M.Ed. Students
2017, Math, Grade 7
Driving Question: Can we create a back pack rack unique and usable for the junior high students?
Do you struggle to store backpacks in your classroom? Using rational numbers, students will investigate the driving question: can we create a backpack rack that is unique and usable for junior high students? Students will then present their designs to site leaders, and possibly even the Board of Education.View PBL
Raising Chickens, Changing Lives
Kathleen Dennis, M.Ed. Graduate
2017, Integrated Subjects, Grades 9-12
- Is it possible to design a self sustaining chicken farm in an urban, high crime and poverty ridden neighborhood?
- How can chickens help us to understand cell division, the role of DNA and inheritance?
Have you ever wondered how we can teach students about DNA, cell division, and inheritance with hands-on experiences? Through the study of urban chicken farming, students will learn about and investigate the structure and function of DNA, mitosis and the growth and development of multicellular organisms, and the inheritance of traits. This STEM PBL is an integrated study of life science, engineering, mathematics, and technology with a focus on presenting and student communication skills.View PBL
Stacey Chuck and Crystal Wong, TCSJ M.Ed. Candidates
2016, Math, Grades 9-12
Driving Question: How can I be sure a bungee cord is safe?
Conducting a deep data dive using statistical analysis, students will investigate the scientific and engineering aspects of the design of a bungee cord in order to determine if the cord is safe.View PBL
Building an App for the Community
Kellene Ditler, Dae Dyer, Maria Ramirez, TCSJ M.Ed. Candidates
2017, Technology, Grade 9-12
Driving Question: If you could create an App for elementary students, what would it be?
How can high school students use technology to help elementary students 'see' the world around them? In this unit, students will utilize technology to create an augmented reality application to share with elementary school students that utilizes studentsâ€™ ideas of â€œimportantâ€ places/things in their communities and surrounding areas, and they will present their project process and product to teachers and classmatesView PBL
Programming with an Emphasis in Drone Technology
Rebecca Currin and Cathy Hofmann-Mook, M.Ed. Candidates
2016, Technology, Grades 6-7
Driving Question: How can we program a drone to move through an obstacle course?
Have you struggled to make the impact of code visible to students? WIth this PBL unit, students will understand how coding is used in different technologies. Students will understand the benefits and concerns associated with drone technology. Students will also understand how block coding works to control different devices including drones.View PBL
J.M. Mitchell Mesimer, Katie Chock, & Nathan Haley, TCSJ M.Ed. Graduates
2016, Life Science, Grade 7
Driving Question: What has prevented dinosaurs from taking over the earth?
Have you struggled to engage students in examining how ecosystems survive and how they might fail? In this unit, students will analyze specific ecosystems, Â identify biotic/abiotic factors of the ecosystem, Â model matter and energy in an ecosystem, Â differentiate between exponential and linear graphs, and Â identify limiting factors of ecosystems by conducting a deep investigation into the ecosystem that supported dinosaur life.View PBL