Blogs on Project-Based Learning

Project-Based Learning


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

Mark PhillipsOctober 11, 2012

A few months ago, I had a conversation with a highly intelligent colleague who told me that he was thinking of not voting in the presidential election because none of the candidates were "in touch with the coming revolution," represented by the Occupy Wall Street protests. I tried to explain that there were great differences between the candidates on a host of other important issues, to say nothing of the critical nature of Supreme Court appointments over the next four years. But I’m not sure I convinced him.

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Bob LenzSeptember 26, 2012

I learned that you can lie and people will believe you. -- Greg, an eleventh grade student.

This statement would shock most people but his teachers were proud. Greg, a student at Metropolitan Arts and Technology High School in San Francisco (an Envision School), and his classmates had just finished presenting their California Proposition Campaign Ads. Greg’s reflection met one of many outcomes: that by producing media, students will become better consumers of media -- especially election campaign advertising.

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Eric BrunsellSeptember 25, 2012

In an interview with students, MIT's Kerry Emmanuel stated, "At the end of the day, it's just raw curiosity. I think almost everybody that gets seriously into science is driven by curiosity." Curiosity -- the desire to explain how the world works -- drives the questions we ask and the investigations we conduct.

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Adrienne Curtis DickinsonSeptember 18, 2012

Embarking on your first project-based learning unit is an exhilarating time full of big ideas and even bigger hopes about how this new avenue for teaching and learning will change your students' lives. As you begin to think about the intersection between the reality of your classroom and the promise of PBL, remember that PBL presents an authentic problem to the teacher, too!

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Suzie BossSeptember 14, 2012

When six middle-school girls from Bowling Green, Kentucky, got the wild idea to launch a camera into space, they knew there would be big challenges ahead. They would have to learn about everything from weather balloons to high-definition cameras, raise thousands of dollars to buy the gear they needed, and work together (with help from a few trusty adults) to address a host of technical challenges.

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Amber GraeberSeptember 11, 2012

As a new teacher, I once believed that teaching and learning were one and the same. I taught, and the students learned. In creating a student-centered classroom, I began to embrace project-based learning. However, I did so in a very superficial way. I thought I had PBL nailed if my students did a presentation or poster at the end of an instructional unit. My room was full of student work. Anyone who walked in my room could see learning . . . or could they?

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Shawn CornallySeptember 11, 2012

This summer was quite literally a windfall for any teacher involved in educating students about STEM ideas. In one summer we were treated to the physics-laden Olympics, the engineering marvel of NASA's Mars Curiosity, and the statistically significant fingerprint of the Higgs Boson. It's little wonder why so many sources extol teaching STEM using current events in an attempt to generate relevancy in the classroom.

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Suzie BossSeptember 4, 2012

With the presidential election dominating the news between now and November, there's no shortage of timely material to bring into classroom discussions. If used as the starting point for project-based learning, the 2012 election can engage students in thinking critically about everything from media messages to voter rights to public opinion polls.

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Bob LenzAugust 23, 2012

I am excited to announce that Envision Schools is now Envision Education. Envision Education encompasses our schools division, with our four high-performing college prep schools in the Bay Area, as well as our consulting division, Envision Learning Partners, which is bringing professional development and coaching to schools and districts around the country.

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Andrew MillerAugust 6, 2012

Before the start of the school year, many of us want to use the remaining weeks of summer to learn some new skills -- such as project-based learning (PBL). One of the things we stress for new PBL practitioners is, as I say, "don't go crazy." It's easy to go "too big" when you first start PBL. I have heard from many teachers new to PBL that a large, eight-week integrated project was a mistake. So how do you start PBL in ways that will ensure your success as a learner and teacher? Here are a few tips to consider.

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