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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

An Introduction to Project-Based Learning

In this hands-on approach to teaching, students create schoolwork that demonstrates core subject knowledge. Read a short introductory article or watch an in-depth video.
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Video Credits

Produced, Written, and Directed by

  • Ken Ellis

Coordinating Producer:

  • Amy Erin Borovoy


  • Karen Sutherland

Associate Producers:

  • Stacey Bloom
  • Leigh Iacobucci
  • Miwa Yokoyama

Production Assistant:

  • Doug Keely

Camera Crew:

  • Rob Weller
  • Michael Curtiss


  • Kris Welch

Original Music:

  • Ed Bogas
  • © 2009
  • The George Lucas Educational Foundation
  • All rights reserved.

Comments (41)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

judy ritts's picture

Yes, I agree that special needs students need and would thrive on using Project Based Learning. I think this is true for many reasons - but mainly because when I think about Bloom's Taxonomy - I think that Project Based Learning takes kids to the application and synthesis levels of thinking where learning is by nature more enjoyable to the kids and more relevant and meaningful to them.

Tory Temple's picture
Tory Temple
Highschool Chemistry, College professor at Azusa Pacific University

PBL... has potential. No question. I had exactly $0 to buy supplies and equipment to implement what I was teaching. I watched this video and all I saw was thousands of dollars of equipment and materials. Is PBL not so much about the methodology as it is about the STUFFology. I'd be really impressed if they could do the same thing, but on a $0 budget. Then I'd be impressed.

Tory Temple's picture
Tory Temple
Highschool Chemistry, College professor at Azusa Pacific University

I'm understandably jealous... I think this program would be wonderful, given the money. Most teachers in California are now working under a $0 budget in order to save jobs. Do PBL on a $0 budget, then I'll be impressed.

Maryam Thomas-Muhammad's picture
Maryam Thomas-Muhammad
High school chemistry and biology teacher from Connecticut

Students learn from PBL because it is hands-on. Presenting their findings to their teacher and peers for constructive criticism is indicative of real world learning.


Theresa Allen's picture

After watching this video, I reflected on how engaged the students were with their projects and how they took on that level of responsibility to work on the goal together. This was good to see vs. reading about it.

Sonia's picture
primary teacher

Project based learning is a great strategy for all the reasons stated in the video clip. Unfortunately some may see it as a new learning strategy but it's been around a while. The expert from MIT states "to give up the idea of curriculum and replace it by a system where you learn this where you need it." It's a great concept and I fully agree with the comment made by the MIT professor. However, throwing out the curriculum, I am sure has been a heated topic of many discussions in many districts, and it's still driving what many teachers teach. Perhaps that's why the strategy seems "new". I like the idea of integrating the curriculum into project based learning. Realistically, for many teachers this may be the best compromise for now while the battle for useful informal student centered assessment vs standardized assessment, driven by curriculum, continues.

Sonia's picture
primary teacher

That's exactly what came to my mind? How is it every time I watch a video on what great things are happening in schools I find they have so many more resources to work with? Some of the videos are not from the public system, I get that. However, I still get very frustrated when I see the haves and the have nots in a profession where all kids are equally important. By the way, great term, "stuffology" you nailed it!

Business English teacher from Santos/São Paulo - Brazil

As a teacher, I like to work PBL with my students. It's the right way to things, I believe. When the students start from practice, they feel much more confortable and demonstrate higher levels of self steem.

Anthony H Hyman Jr's picture

I think that education as a whole has under served our student population. I benefited greatly from the traditional learning environment that I was in. Today's group of learners have so many different things going on in their lives that I feel that we have to "catch their attention" with some new trick or method to keep them involved. I would definitely supplement my teaching with PBL. I think that it is really amazing and benefits those learners that like to move around in the classroom and pick things up from doing them. I think it would be foolish to bash traditional teaching as if its some antiquated dinosaur that needs to be put out of its misery. Teaching is a discipline and should be treated as such, but there is nothing wrong with teaching an old dog a new trick/method. lol. Educate smarter and not harder people. 1 luv

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