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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.

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.

4 4,446 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.

1 2,223 views

Browse

11 boys standing in front of a two-story house they have been renovating
blog

Constructive Thinking and the Perfect Fixer-Upper

High school students can take a class that, through a joint effort by their school district and community, lets them redesign and remodel a house.

A bicycle wheel and balloon make up part of a Rube Goldberg machine.
blog

5-Minute Film Festival: Learning with Rube Goldberg Machines

Building a Rube Goldberg machine is a great way for kids to explore engineering and build teamwork skills. We've gathered a collection of videos to inspire and encourage learning from these elaborate and comical machines.

144 views
two high school aged students working with a teacher around a computer
article

Resources for Building Community Partnerships

Learn how schools can benefit from the support and expertise of local businesses, organizations, and individuals, and discover strategies for fostering successful business and community partnerships.

3 363 10,098 views
Graphic of lightbulb
article

Resources for Assessment in Project-Based Learning

Looking for tools and strategies for effective assessment in project-based learning? To support you, we've assembled this guide to helpful resources from Edutopia and beyond.

3 6,305 65,838 views
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.

7 752 17,166 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.

3,006 24,235 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 2,346 11,108 views

Pages

blog

Twenty Ideas for Engaging Projects

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

19 786 394,827 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.

6 285 263,757 views
article

Ten Steps to Better Student Engagement

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

82 839 233,665 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 7,834 193,274 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 6,812 190,244 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 2,126 144,198 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.

4 190 141,168 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 79,975 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...

3,470 109,663 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...

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