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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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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.


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.


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: 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.



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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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Sparking Civic Engagement by Building in Public Spaces

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.

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Making the Most of Mentors for Students

Blogger Suzie Boss provides pointers for teachers on how best to utilize adult mentors who help their students with projects.

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Are School Librarians Part of Your PBL Dream Team?

If librarians know about upcoming projects, they can help to spark curiosity even before project launch day.

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Kids Like Blues: Using Music and Video to Rock Your Classroom

Teacher and musician Jon Schwartz tells the amusing and inspiring story (with generous video examples) of how he turned the blues into an effective pedagogy for his first graders.

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How to Get High-Quality Student Work in PBL

John Larmer, Editor in Chief at the Buck Institute for Education, looks at how to get high-quality work from students engaged in project-based learning.

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Ripped from the Headlines: How to Turn Current Events into Real-World Projects

Suzie Boss shares ways teachers can use current events and news in the classroom, and helpful links to get you started.

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Teaching Empathy Through Design Thinking

While empathy is the first step in the design thinking process, keep your students focused on this necessary element as they move through definition, ideation, prototyping, and testing.

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Project-Based Learning and the Common Core: Resource Roundup

Explore a curated compilation of online resources for aligning project-based learning with the Common Core State Standards.

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Downloads and Resources from Forest Lake Elementary

Free tools, reading lists, web links and other resources to help bring differentiated instruction to your school.

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Entrepreneurial Education: The Successful Investor Project

An economics educator teaches his students to be smart money managers and businesspeople.

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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.

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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...

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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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