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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.

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.

Browse

blog

Does Spelling Count?

Guest blogger Shira Loewenstein, asked by her students whether spelling counts, comes back with a fascinating question of her own: why is the continuum of learning broken down into a handful of unrelated subjects?

18 5,550 40,073 views
How Design Thinking Can Empower Young People
video

How Design Thinking Can Empower Young People

At People Serving People, a homeless shelter in Minneapolis, local design firms and educators work together to show kids how design thinking can help them make a difference in their neighborhoods

465 9,252 views
blog

The Role of PBL in Making the Shift to Common Core

Guest blogger Sara Hallermann, Curriculum Development Manager at Buck Institute for Education, looks through the lens of PBL to show how six of the Common Core's big ideas are compatible with this activity-centered approach.

5 956 17,079 views
blog

Upcycle Night: A Middle School PBL Project

Guest blogger Aaron Kaio shares his students' adventure in upcycling as he details a project that started with trash and recycling, and elevated to a community crafting event.

202 2,233 views
blog

San Francisco Bat Kid: A Model PBL Project

Edutopia blogger Andrew Miller looks at the high-profile pageant of San Francisco's Bat Kid event and sees a best-case scenario for both project-based learning and service learning.

197 1,228 views
blog

In India, a School that Empowers Students and Teachers

What happens when students and teachers are immersed in an environment that encourages innovation and risk taking?

4 2,484 8,026 views
Sparking Civic Engagement by Building in Public Spaces
video

Sparking Civic Engagement by Building in Public Spaces

Sixteen-year-old Alexa gains hands-on experience and leadership skills by collaborating on a play space for kids through Philadelphia's Public Workshop, which promotes community engagement and innovation.

76 2,568 views

Pages

article

Speed 101: Motorcycle Racing as Real-World Physics Lab

Isaac Newton hops aboard a two-wheeled teaching tool.

18 54 17,748 views
article

A Real Learning Curve: Catapults Demonstrate the Quadratic Equation

Algebra students use their math skills to control the arc of launched objects.

13 1 17,525 views
blog

Twenty Tips for Managing Project-Based Learning

In honor of Edutopia's 20th anniversary, blogger Andrew Miller provides twenty tips on how to manage PBL. Enjoy and please add your own!

3 728 17,190 views
blog

The Role of PBL in Making the Shift to Common Core

Guest blogger Sara Hallermann, Curriculum Development Manager at Buck Institute for Education, looks through the lens of PBL to show how six of the Common Core's big ideas are compatible with this activity-centered approach.

5 956 17,079 views
Anatomy of a Project: "Soil Superheroes"
video

Anatomy of a Project: "Soil Superheroes"

Project Learning Assignment: Seventh graders work with community experts to advance their understanding of bacteria in the environment -- and then share their findings with the community at large.

22 16,297 views
blog

Critical Thinking Pathways

To teach critical thinking, consider applying six definitions of that discipline to the practices of authentic inquiry, PBL, and integrated studies.

7 823 16,186 views
article

Integrated Studies Research Review: Evidence-Based Practices and Programs

Evidence points to seven key approaches to integrating curricula that have been shown to be effective.

3 797 16,074 views

Pages

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.

27 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...

2,884 148,015 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 2 7,692 views
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.

15 211 60,724 views