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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

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Browse

Constructing Sustainable Houses Develops Collaborative Skills (Is School Enough? Series)
video

Constructing Sustainable Houses Develops Collaborative Skills

Teens in Philadelphia learn how to solve math and engineering problems while working together to build high-efficiency homes designed for disaster relief, as part of an alternative senior year program called the Workshop School.

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blog

Getting Specific About Student Success

Edutopia blogger Suzie Boss explores how project-based learning and the use of rubrics can increase a school's academic success.

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blog

Focus on Collaboration to Kick Off New School Year

Blogger Suzie Boss shares steps for assisting secondary students with classroom collaboration.

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blog

Start the Year with a Project . . . or Wait?

John Larmer, Editor in Chief at the Buck Institute for Education, weighs the pros and cons of starting the school year with a PBL project.

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How Building Robots Captivates Kids' Imaginations (Is School Enough? Series)
video

How Making Robots Captivates Kids' Imaginations

Building robots inspires such passion in high school seniors Violet and Kjersti that they've begun mentoring younger robotics teams to teach STEM skills -- and save their school's robotics program.

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blog

From Coverage to "Uncoverage!"

Edutopia blogger Andrew Miller starts the conversation about how effectively teachers may or may not be covering their material - and how PBL can help make it stick.

4 154 1,748 views
blog

Thinking Critically About Social Action Projects

Blogger Suzie Boss outlines ways in which social action projects can increase students' leadership skills.

4 150 4,513 views

Pages

Rigorous Project-Based Learning Transforms AP Courses
video

Rigorous Project-Based Learning Transforms AP Courses

Through a project called Knowledge in Action, researchers at the University of Washington have been exploring whether project-based learning can help high school students with diverse learning styles understand content more deeply in advanced placement...

1 385 12,084 views
article

How to Help an International School: Give the Gift of Books -- and More

Teach children a global lesson by donating books and other needed supplies to schools around the world.

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blog

Supporting the Teacher Maker Movement

In order for teachers to encourage student innovation, they need the freedom to be innovative as well. Eight ways school leaders can support faculty who want to develop engaging curriculum.

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blog

Innovative Education: Make Room for "What Ifs"

Edutopia blogger Suzie Boss highlights a science project where eighth-graders created a "robohand" after their teacher invited them to solve a real-world problem.

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article

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.

245 11,356 views
article

Knowledge in Action Research Helping to Make the Case for Rigorous Project-Based Learning

This research project by the University of Washington in collaboration with The George Lucas Educational Foundation is studying the impact on student learning of a PBL approach to Advanced Placement courses.

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article

VoiceThread Extends the Classroom with Interactive Multimedia Albums

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Pages

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.

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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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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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