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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

Resources for Getting Started With Project-Based Learning

Last comment 1 week 5 days ago
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Student-Led Projects in Early Elementary

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Assessment in Making

Last comment 2 weeks 11 hours ago
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Browse

Three adults are standing outside of the doors of a school hallway, below a sign that says, "Dream Factory."
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Finding the Sweet Spot: Creativity, Candy, and Commerce

Through the design, manufacture, and marketing of their own signature chocolate bars, these middle school students brought curiosity and passion to their STEM learning.

3 454 7,689 views
A boy is hunched over a rectangular device on his desk, drawing.
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Project-Based Learning and Gamification: Two Great Tastes That Go Great Together

Prepping for a gamified unit of study or project is very different than prepping for your traditional, linear model. Here are some tips on how to do it.

7 2,091 20,573 views
photo of a girl working with pen and ink
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Giving Students Charge of How They Learn

By letting students determine how they learn, via task design, rubric development, and student-led parent conferences, we see high engagement, in-depth inquiry, and quality work.

6 1,004 5,819 views
photo of a student working on a robotics project
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6 Strategies to Truly Personalize PBL

PBL best embodies personalized learning when you know the whole child, align projects with standards, build a supportive infrastructure, assess often, and get out of the way.

1 1,562 8,924 views
photo of three young women working on a project together
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Learning by Doing: A Teacher Transitions Into PBL

For a successful PBL unit, set clear goals, over plan, make students accountable, give concrete deadlines, share rubrics in advance, and reflect on your methods.

21 18,460 23,690 views
photo of young students working on a project
blog

My PBL Failure: 4 Tips for Planning Successful PBL

Here are four lessons learned from a failed PBL unit: align with the school calendar, allow planning time, carefully create the topic and guiding question, and collaborate with peers.

8 674 11,415 views
black and white photo of a young man reading a book
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Banned Books, Censorship - and PBL?

Nothing inspires the need to read like banned books! Here's how to incorporate literacy, voice and choice, and social studies into one engaging PBL project.

4 681 2,494 views

Pages

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Why Should Schools Embrace Integrated Studies?: It Fosters a Way of Learning that Mimics Real Life

Integrated studies allows students to gain knowledge in a truly interdisciplinary fashion.

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Photo of students cooking together
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Resources for Getting Started With Project-Based Learning

Explore Edutopia's curated compilation of online resources for understanding and beginning to implement project-based learning.

9 7,951 46,756 views
article

Big Thinkers on Education

Some of the most compelling visionaries in the world -- from Sir Ken Robinson to Jane Goodall to Martin Scorsese -- are focusing their attention on how to improve education. Get inspired by their big ideas.

3 1,039 44,886 views
Applying Math Skills to a Real-World Problem
video

Applying Math Skills to a Real-World Problem

Students in Eeva Reeder's geometry class design schools for 2050.

15 82 44,054 views
article

Common Ground: Teaching Kids the Benefits Of Working Together

Cooperative learning helps create the essential skill of working (and compromising) within a group.

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Math, PBL and 21st Century Learning for All Students

Independent researcher and evaluator Jason Ravitz presents evidence from a West Virginia study showing that PBL can indeed support 21st century learning skills among math students.

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Resources for Project-Based Learning

Free materials and downloads for building rigorous projects for all grade levels, from our Project-Based Learning Professional Development Guide.

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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.

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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...

3,470 108,889 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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