Blogs on Project-Based Learning

Project-Based Learning

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Get tips and advice for teaching core subject matter with meaningful activities that examine complex, real-world issues.

Suzie BossJanuary 17, 2014

I recently visited a school district where teachers are experimenting with Genius Hour. Sometimes called 20 percent time after the Google practice of reserving a day a week for individual research, Genius Hour offers students a regular time each week to tackle projects that reflect their personal interests and passions. (Blogger A.J. Juliani explains the reasoning behind 20 percent time.)

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Heather Wolpert-GawronJanuary 9, 2014

Since being asked to pilot my school's first iPad 1:1 classroom, I've been working through a paperless project-based learning unit with my eighth graders. It had been going on since the first day of school. And just before winter break, at the end of the quarter, it culminated in classroom presentations.

However, that didn't mean that the audience got to kick back and let their mind drift. Heck no. Instead, the audience of students arguably developed more brain sweat then the actual student presenter.

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John LarmerJanuary 6, 2014

At the Buck Institute for Education (BIE), we've been keeping a list of the many types of "_____- based learning" we've run across over the years:

  • Case-based learning
  • Challenge-based learning
  • Community-based learning
  • Design-based learning
  • Game-based learning
  • Inquiry-based learning
  • Land-based learning
  • Passion-based learning
  • Place-based learning
  • Problem-based learning
  • Proficiency-based learning
  • Service-based learning
  • Studio-based learning
  • Team-based learning
  • Work-based learning

. . . and our new fave . . .

  • Zombie-based learning (look it up!)
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Homa TavangarJanuary 3, 2014

Ready for the journey of a lifetime? It will require stamina and creativity, so pack only the essentials: comfortable shoes, paper and pencil, and -- more importantly -- curiosity, empathy, patience, humility and a sense of wonder.

You won’t need a passport, but you’ll be travelling across the planet.

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Suzie BossDecember 30, 2013

When teachers ask how to get started with project-based learning, I acknowledge the "front-loading" that's part of project planning. Before students enter the picture, teachers need to consider the learning goals of a project, develop an assessment plan, and map out at least a rough calendar of the learning activities that will support the inquiry process. Those details may change once students dig in, but having a plan provides a roadmap for the student-directed learning ahead.

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Suzie BossDecember 26, 2013

Samantha Shires, a middle-school social studies teacher in Guilford County, North Carolina, wants her students to understand that history doesn't unfold in a series of unrelated events. "History is messy and chaotic," she says. "Students need to see how events are connected and interrelated."

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Shira LoewensteinDecember 19, 2013

"Does spelling count?"

This is one of my favorite and least favorite questions all rolled into one.

As a science teacher, I gave an assignment to my students to create a children's book. "In your book, I want you to explain everything your readers have learned about the different types of clouds and how they relate to weather patterns." Before I even have the chance to hand out a rubric, no less than five children call out, "Does spelling count?!?" I am sure they're hoping for a simple "yes" or "no" (and more specifically a "no"), but this seems to be a teachable moment if I have ever met one. I'm going to seize it . . .

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Sara HallermannDecember 17, 2013

Editor's note: John Larmer, Editor in Chief at the Buck Institute for Education (BIE), contributed to this post.

The Common Core has embedded within it some Big Ideas that shift the role of teachers to curriculum designers and managers of an inquiry process. How can project-based learning (PBL) help with this shift?

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aaronkaioDecember 11, 2013

Two years ago when my wife and I moved to Madison, Wisconsin, I was lucky enough to get a job at a new project- and environment-based charter school, Badger Rock Middle. After a tough first year of learning and experimenting (sometimes with the help of Edutopia and sometimes with the help of other teachers like Sara Krauskopf, on whose project the following lesson is based), I have become more confident in assigning projects and letting students take them as far as possible.

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Andrew MillerNovember 29, 2013

We have all been inspired by the San Francisco Bat Kid! To fully grasp what happened in that city in mid-November, watch these videos. It isn't every day that you see so many volunteers coming together to make a child's wish come true. In truth, creating that entire scenario for the San Francisco Bat Kid was a model PBL project.

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