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Project Based Learning Resources for Teachers

Project Based Learning is becoming a popular teaching method in the classroom where students can gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time focusing on a certain problem, question, or challenge. 

According to the Buck Institute for Education (BIE), essential elements of PBL include: 

  • Significant Content- At its core, the project is focused on teaching students important knowledge and skills, derived from standards and key concepts at the heart of academic subjects.
  • 21st century competencies- Students build competencies valuable for today’s world, such as problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity/innovation, which are explicitly taught and assessed.
  • In-Depth Inquiry- Students are engaged in an extended, rigorous process of asking questions, using resources, and developing answers.
  • Driving Question- Project work is focused by an open-ended question that students understand and find intriguing, which captures their task or frames their exploration.
  • Need to Know- Students see the need to gain knowledge, understand concepts, and apply skills in order to answer the Driving Question and create project products, beginning with an Entry Event that generates interest and curiosity.
  • Voice and Choice- Students are allowed to make some choices about the products to be created, how they work, and how they use their time, guided by the teacher and depending on age level and PBL experience.
  • Critique and Revision- The project includes processes for students to give and receive feedback on the quality of their work, leading them to make revisions or conduct further inquiry.
  • Public Audience- Students present their work to other people, beyond their classmates and teacher.

Education World has a list of Project Based Learning resources teachers can use in the classroom:

  1. GlobalSchoolNet: With this site, teachers have access to e-learning projects worldwide to develop science, math, literacy, communication skills, foster teamwork, and more. 
  2. High Tech High: High Tech High has seven successful PBL projects for teachers to grab to use in their classroom. Here's one example:
  • This New House: "In a study of sustainable architecture, students work in pairs to create a scale site plan, scale floor plans, scale exterior elevations, a scale architectural model of the home, and a pamphlet explaining the design."
  1. PBL Lab: This website provides activities, research, projects, and other resources teachers can use for PBL instruction.
  2. Houghton Mifflin's Project-Based Learning Space: On this site, teachers can get background knowledge on PBL theory, how to use it in the classroom, and have access to different projects for students. 
  3. Virtual Schoolhouse: With Virtual Schoolhouse, teachers have access to a number of different projects for different communities, grade levels, and type of classes across the country. Here are two examples:
  1. Intel Teach Elements: With these online professional development courses teachers can take animated tutorials to learn about PBL concepts. Teachers can take the PBL course online, or order the Intel PBL CD.


Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor