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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Project-Based Learning

Project-based learning is a dynamic classroom approach in which students actively explore real-world problems and challenges and acquire a deeper knowledge.

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Overview

What is Project-Based Learning?

Project-based learning is a dynamic approach to teaching in which students explore real-world problems and challenges. With this type of active and engaged learning, students are inspired to obtain a deeper knowledge of the subjects they're studying. Watch an introduction video.

History

What's the History of PBL?

Confucius and Aristotle were early proponents of learning by doing. Socrates modeled how to learn through questioning, inquiry, and critical thinking -- all strategies that remain very relevant in today's PBL classrooms. Learn more.

Experts

What the Experts Say

"One of the major advantages of project work is that it makes school more like real life." --Sylvia Chard, University of Alberta See what other experts say.

Research

Research: Studies on PBL Success

Did you know PBL students remember learned content for longer periods of time? Did you know PBL students view themselves as better prepared in problem solving and perform better in tasks that emphasize understanding and application of knowledge? Dig deeper.

Discuss

Turn Genius Hour Into Genius Year

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23 436 12,812 views

3 Ways to Plan for Diverse Learners: What Teachers Do

Last comment 1 week 3 days ago
57 7,823 184,686 views

4 Practices for Increasing Student Engagement

Last comment 2 weeks 5 hours ago
6 740 15,177 views

3 Ways to Plan for Diverse Learners: What Teachers Do

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 12:10
57 7,823 184,686 views

Student Choice and Viral Videos

Thu, 02/18/2016 - 12:00
6 698 5,713 views

Resources

We Love PBL Pinterest Board

Visit a curated collection of resources on project-based learning -- including tips and tricks for newbies and veterans -- on Edutopia's pinboard on Pinterest.

1 4,531 views
Screenshot of PBL guide

High Tech High’s Teacher’s Guide to PBL

Download this teacher’s guide to project-based learning to explore great sample projects and review PBL basics.

2,168 views

Browse

Two teenage boys in protective goggles, green aprons, and blue gloves are hovering over a desk holding a screwdriver, using it with some plastic-metal device.
blog

4 Practices for Increasing Student Engagement

Spend the first five minutes of each class focusing on your students as people. Then keep them engaged through the agency of makerspaces, PBL, or Genius Hour/20 Time.

6 740 15,177 views
Chest down, a teen is sitting at a hand-made desk. It's made of a cardboard triangular desktop, three cardboard tubes as desk legs -- with tennis balls at the bottom of two of them -- and two solid, cylindrical wooden rods connecting the desk legs.
blog

Architecture, Psychology... and Furniture?

Follow the process as psychology and architecture classes join forces to design and build furniture for their high school's new learning spaces.

1,928 22,273 views
Two young girls are standing on grass next to a table with paper, stamp ink, crayons, and glove-like cloth that they're using as stamps. One girl is pushing her glove into the stamp ink, and the other girl is holding up her glove.
blog

Making Room for Children's Ideas Through PBL

An educator recognizes the value of PBL while watching his young son play creatively with engineering design, scaling, iterating, imagining, selecting materials, and mapping steps toward a goal.

3 2,334 8,668 views
A curly-haired teenage girl is standing in a classroom holding a metal circle that's connected to two miniature red light bulbs. One of them is lit.
blog

Design Thinking and PBL

Design thinking and PBL can bridge what we know and how we innovate. Try combining these two practices as an instructional framework for teaching 21st-century skills.

34 685 16,162 views
An illustration of a dark gray cat with a pink Pop-Tart as its body and a rainbow as its tail against a black background.
blog

Student Choice and Viral Videos

By creating and self-producing viral videos about their PBL topic, thinking like filmmakers will enhance students' ownership and deepen their learning.

6 698 5,713 views
Four young girls are sitting, writing at their desks. Five young students are standing by a projector at the front of the class, pointing at the screen, which is projecting four different sentences marked with blue marker.
blog

Tools for Differentiating Instruction in PBL

Differentiate the content, process, and product of your PBL lessons with tools and practices like Learning Profile Cards, narrative feedback, and design thinking.

1 1,869 20,696 views
Two young students are outside, bending over planks of wood, hammering them together.
blog

Empowering Students With Design Thinking

During a two-week design thinking project, middle-school students drew on their empathy for homeless people to design and build a prototype interim housing unit from shipping pallets.  

1,225 5,516 views

Pages

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Twenty Ideas for Engaging Projects

Blogger Suzie Boss shares 20 ideas for getting engaging projects going in your classroom.

19 775 382,973 views
article

Core Strategies for Innovation and Reform in Learning

See an overview of Edutopia's core strategies, including project-based learning, social-emotional learning, comprehensive assessment, technology integration, integrated studies and teacher development.

6 283 265,696 views
article

Ten Steps to Better Student Engagement

Project-learning teaching strategies can also improve your everyday classroom experience.

82 836 231,597 views
An young girl with rainbow-knitted headphones is sitting at a table with her female teacher. They're both looking at a long, thin sheet of paper, and the young girl is holding the tip of the pencil against the paper, pointing at something.
blog

6 Strategies for Differentiated Instruction in Project-Based Learning

Blogger Andrew Miller offers six simple, effective approaches to differentiated instruction in project-based learning.

19 6,802 189,220 views
blog

3 Ways to Plan for Diverse Learners: What Teachers Do

Teachers aiming to differentiate learning in their classroom can focus on content, process, and product in giving students opportunities to grow and shine as individuals.

57 7,823 184,686 views
Three girls smiling behind a laptop
article

A Step-by-Step Guide to the Best Projects

Discover a project-based learning model that motivates students to pursue knowledge and drives academic achievement.

21 2,126 142,900 views
blog

Designing Science Inquiry: Claim + Evidence + Reasoning = Explanation

Edutopia blogger Eric Brunsell breaks scientific inquiry down into the basic CER model and offers suggestions for introducing it to students.

4 190 139,550 views

Pages

Girls testing wing strength using plywood
Article

Project-Based Learning Professional Development Guide

An overview of the Edutopia professional development guide for teaching how to use project-based learning in the classroom.

15 225 78,842 views

Classroom Guide: Top Ten Tips for Assessing Project-Based Learning

This guide will inspire and expand your thinking about effective assessment for project-based learning. Tips are organized to follow the arc of a project: planning, launch into active learning, and then a culminating presentation. Reflection is the final...

3,469 110,970 views
Article

Project Learning: Model Schools with Solutions

Project learning encourages students to explore real-world challenges while developing cross-curriculum skills in small collaborative groups. Edutopia has visited many schools that have implemented project-based learning programs -- here are some of the best...

1 613,728 2,168 views
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