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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Observations on PBL Projects

Observations on PBL Projects

Related Tags: Project-Based Learning
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Expanding on and reviewing what I had posted on Edutopia FB, I see that a good project would be one that everyone has some success and then the chance to creative. The foam plate glider (FPG-9) worked well for me in those apsects. Projects that are too fragile require too much time from the instructor repairing which I have found with some of my balsa wood model airplane classes. It is ideal if you have enough tools for everyone or there is minimal sharing. If students try to jump ahead too far in projects they mess things up and they need help re-doing. You can try to explain everything ahead of time, but many will not listen. Projects with large classes and not enough help could be disasters I would think. The costs for materials for large groups could quickly get out of hand also. Do not assume anything is too simple, everyone comes into some classes with different backgrounds. I found kids that had so much trouble tying a basic knot. I have heard of engineering students that have never soldered and have trouble trying to build a robot in college. Just some of my opinios, would like to hear others. Bill Kuhl

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Jane Neuenschwander's picture
Jane Neuenschwander
Teaching elementary education courses to undergrads at WJU

I personally believe it is hard for us, teachers, to give up "teaching." By that I mean that with PBL we have to be willing to let our students have much more control over what and how they approach the problem. Our job is to find and pose the driving question for learning; model ways to organize and tackle problems; and then (the hardest part) step back and let the students go.

All that being said, students often don't want this much freedom. They have been conditioned to being told what they will learn and how they will "spit it back." So PBL is best if started with small and short turn around problems first. This way both students and teachers can learn from small failures. Yes, I said failures because it takes making mistakes and learning from them to ultimately be successful with PBL.

What subject area and grade level will you be working with on a PBL?
I'd like to brainstorm some ideas with you.


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